write me romantic words of superflous proportions —steal poet’s words, steal all the words in the world to make me believe I am in one of those books I carry with me every time I move across the world. You know which ones, the heavy ones, the ones of female desire, the ones of beating heads on hardwood floors. Take all those words, move them around, and see why I love those words so much. Eat the words and shit them out to see how they look like in all the ways. Write to me, on paper, on the computer, on napkins, on the metro, on the road, on receipts, on magazines, on books, on newspaper clippings, on you, on me, on them, on the trees. Write to me with fingers full of blood expanding to show me the love you say you have. Keep writing, write like it’s a Grecian marathon, keep writing in the most detailed ways possible. Use examples. Use verbs. Use the clarity of Joan Didion. Or write me a few words, simple words, big words, complicated words. Write me however, whenever, but write me often and write to me, not to them, not for the world to see. Just me, just write it to me, because your love is not for them, but for me, and a love song is not a love letter.
I wanted to write something yesterday, about Canada Day and its phases of being intense and dramatic and shifting my whole self, but I hadn’t slept from the night before and was full of amorous energy that kept me in bed with my fantasies most of the day. I did manage to bike over in as little clothes as possible to Atwater Market to buy some fruit and eat lunch. I had my usual chicken satay as Alex (co-owner of Satay Brothers) sat down on the bench with me excitably remarking about the potential spaces he’s found for his upcoming restaurant. He could barely sit still and it was more like a dance with his eyes toward the world. I was too delirious from being under-slept to fully listen. Him and J made fast friends and call each other Mr. Meat Stick and Mr. Wood respectively since J will most likely outfit Alex’s meat venture with his wood. This humour is not lost on me, at all.
my summer wardrobe. spot the red square <3
Sometimes when I bike with draping skirts and dresses I imagine (it like) the scene between Lila and Chimo from Lila dit ça and close my eyes long enough to be a danger to myself and those around me.
A friend recently told me that my writing is defensive, not clear, and full of run-on sentences that are constantly jumping ideas. It’s clear that I have a certain writing style that desires poetry and flow, but because essays are academic writing, they need a certain structure and a certain style. I could write academic articles with poetic style, but in order to do so, I need to be self-assured. I am not self-assured. I hate academic writing. I hate sitting there watching the words come out of me because they are not the words I want. I stop every few minutes. I am distracted. I am upset. I see myself forcing the words out that never sound like the ideas I have. I am disparaged.
“One time in undergrad I had a prof write on my final essay evaluation that my writing is like searching for buried treasure in a deep sea. That the reader can see the shiny treasure and there’s so much of it, but it’s so deep and so difficult to get to, that once they are close they run out of air and have to be hoisted back up again.”
“How poetic… yes,” he nods in agreement.
I lower my head and start to cry into my palms, because I know this anecdote so well. I see this anecdote in my head every time I write. I have had variations of this evaluation said to me countless times by countless profs. Everyone who comes across my academic writing tells me the same thing. This started in high school. Once I received a 0/10 for writing style in a Grade 10 Media Studies Class. I had nearly 10/10 on everything else. How does someone have 0 style? I came to Canada when I was 10, I cannot blame it on that. What is it? I remember always receiving the highest marks in Creative Writing, always. But then what? Academic writing what? I wonder how it’s possible I’ve been able to receive top marks in graduate school, how it’s possible I’m in a PhD program, how it’s possible that there’s such a strong block that obfuscates the clarity and effortlessness I want for my ideas.
He says I need to practice, genuinely practice and focus on the structure, the form, the words, the sentences —without taking breaks every few minutes to waste time online. Then, I need to edit, REVISE REVISE REVISE, and give enough time to the writing. I know this already. I know this already. I have to change my writing behavior. I am faced with this now, more than ever before. I want to be a strong lucid writer. I do. I do.
Belly dancing has made me more aware of my body, my protruding neck and bad posture. I focus on parts of my body as they move, as others stay still and sometimes follow. I turn on Beyonce videos on full blast every morning and practice figure eights with my hips, stretch my legs and move my wrists in unison. Dancing moves should never be forced, they should flow out of your body smoothly, they should be a love making with the space around you, they should be everything my academic writing isn’t.
The sun tilts onto the wood table. Its sharp rays reaching north. A shadow of birds swoops over Sophticleas, the alpha-cat, letting his slit eyes dilate. The curled up leaves that have forgotten to be nourished wince away from the sun. The Italian basil plant soaring for the ceiling pushes its way toward the blinding heat, extending its large bright green leaves proudly. The little curly ones near the bottom sprouting from the already hardened brown stalk wave around excited to get a hold of more sun than the others. They’ve yet to feel the drought of my negligent hands. The nearby Thai basil plant, frustrated, has shifted its stalks considerably to be caught in the sun’s angle. Until the afternoon sun changed positions, the edges of the drawn-back curtain cover it. Sophticleas adjusts from side to side, positioning himself facing away from the sun but directly parallel to the sharp morning angle, with his back’s pattern turning a golden color and his dandruff shining. The dust in the air creates a hazy immersive screen around us. Every time Sophticleas moves, hair starts flying around. How come it’s more visible in the sun? How come everything is clearer in the/because of the sun?
The table’s age stares at me, worn out from moving around the city, worn out from the banal every day. The disproportionate coffee stain smirks in the sun percolating into the cheap wood, while the white coffee mug’s long shadow seeps off the table edge. Softlicious inches his way into the sun’s angles too, trying to push the other cat away from the table to try to claim his space. They’re both parallel now, away from the sun facing me with their slits for eyes. Everything seems positioned not in relation to each other, but in relation to the will of the north-facing sun. Everything seems to be shifting around to gain energy. Everything is gaining strength. We’re all in this together.
I’m running a festival, all by myself and I’m anxious that the participants aren’t rolling in like the previous years. I’m anxious that the early-called election is taking full view.
I’m desperate for sharp conversation, but when it’s right there I in all my social awkwardness take over and mumble about something or other. Food politics! Down with Harper! Cocaine! Wobble basslines! The city’s arts scene! Everyone is dancing the same!
I wait days and then you have to take it away prematurely. But isn’t any time before forever premature?
I don’t write anymore. There’s no fiction in my words, there’s just running around selling my ideas, helping on projects, reaching out to everyone and anyone for grad school, for community politics, for my documentary. Everything is external of me. I enjoy the way it masks my depth by pronouncing my knowledge of current events. That seems like a contradiction but really it makes sense to me. By involving myself with everything around me and facilitating ideas that involve many, I don’t have to think about the hurricane that is subsiding at the slowest rate possible inside me. By being involved I can seperate myself from my grief, from the memories, from the reminders. But they are there, they were there when I ate the Dr. Oateker pizza yesterday, or when I think about getting my driver’s licence. Smell is supposed to be the most intense sense in memory recollection, but intensity of experience scraps smell and instead lingers on every sense.
The writing class I wanted to take was full by the time I was ready to register. I didn’t have to loaf, but instead I was too intimidated to let myself inside my own writing. It’s so easy to feel anxiety and cry about not being able to do what you want to, it’s way fucking easier than giving in and doing it. So instead of using the grief to write and write, I’m just letting it go away, even if it doesn’t seem to want to.
She pulled at the seaweed covered branch stuck between the rocks, trying to lift it up just enough to throw it over the stone’s edge.
“Come here!” She yelled after him, as he disappeared into the dark.
“Leave it alone.”
She managed to slide the long thick branch over the stones, just near enough to touch him with it at the other end, “You’re it.”
“You’re it,” he jumped over it and pummelled her onto the stones, catching the back of her head with his hands.
“You’re it,” he grinned looking at her so close, he could no longer focus.
“Always catch me. Ok?”
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