Application

Yesterday morning, I sent in an application to serve on City Council’s Toronto Zoo Board. A half-hearted application, to be sure, but an application nonetheless.

I’m fairly certain there is no real reason for them to select me even for an interview, let alone to the Board. I’m also fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to commit to four years of it, which is what I think they prefer. I’m not always even sure why I applied, really. Though, at the same time, anything I can do to be a voice for the Zoo is good for me.

Ironically, I just got into a heated (on my end, at least) discussion about the tragic debacle over the elephants. Someone made the mistake of asking which side of the coin I stand on (I initially said there is no side, there are many shades of grey, and everything should be taken on a case by case basis), then asked specifically about that instance, so I gave him an earful. At least he learned some things he hadn’t known before. But mostly I just ranted and now I’m all worked up and can’t focus on my work so I am eating lunch.

I’d intended this post to have something to do with my ability/inability to commit to things…or…you know, I don’t even remember why I started writing about applying to a city council board upon which I have no real chance of serving.

I think I am also PMS-ing. My sleep has been very fractured and my dreams very strange yet vivid, in most cases. My emotions are therefore all over the map. I have emotional reactions left over from dreams, and then there is the ridiculousness that is my waking life.

How did I get here, man? Where am I going?

I think I might be bumping up against that turning point again.

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Therapy and Writing

I went to see my therapist last night. It was the first time I’ve gone in a long time…several months, anyway, and then even longer before that. Hopefully this will be the start of something a bit more regular now, though. At least for a while. It wasn’t an emergency session, exactly, but it was much needed, and very last minute. I wasn’t sure I could wait until next week, so was trying to figure out if I could go in the morning today or tomorrow and just be late for work. But she had an opening that no one else was taking last night, and she told me to just come in, so I did.

She’s the best. Takes very good care of me.

I’d made a list of the things I wanted to touch on, and while I’ll wait to delve into some of them more fully next time, I’m pleased that I made it through the entire list to some degree.  I also made sure to mention right off the bat that, while I was grateful and relieved to be there so quickly after asking about seeing her again (she’d just been thinking about me the day before, too), I was also extremely nervous.  Much more so that I thought I’d be.  It reminded me a little of the first time we met.  We talked a bit about that night, as well.

I forgot to tell her about my meeting with the Library’s Writer In Residence last weekend, but we can talk about that later. I told her about this blog, but then spoke more about communicating and trying to express myself better in general, rather than feeling the need to talk more about creative writing and the like this time. It wasn’t even a conscious decision, really. Just a result of the organic nature of our conversation at the time.

My meeting with the Writer In Residence went extremely well, however. It was very positive, and pretty much changed my mind yet again on how to move forward and strengthen my manuscript, and that was completely unexpected. I went in with a plan I wanted to float by her, and some questions that were on my mind, and instead, she was so supportive of the story and the characters and the way things are currently laid out, that I left feeling like I didn’t need to change very much at all. She gave me some valuable tips and advice on how to make specific lines more powerful, but as far as the structure and execution of the story itself, she was very pleased with what she’d seen.

It had been quite a long time since I’d been able to talk about writing and the process of putting a whole novel together and to even just revisit those characters and that story with another writer. I’d gone in ready to tear a few things apart and rebuild them, and left feeling like that may not be necessary, and that I can make what I have all the stronger and more powerful just by changing some of the language and sentence structure.

Not that line editing isn’t a huge chore in itself, but if I can get that all tightened up, bit by bit, I think I will be closer to my goal for this book than I’d anticipated prior to having that meeting. My plan is to work on one chapter a week, but since it’s now Thursday and I haven’t started working on this first week’s chapter at all, I’m not sure I’ll be able to live up to that plan, but we’ll see. I have several other things on the go at the same time, so I am not sure how much time I can devote to this right now, anyway. It was definitely a positive kick in the butt to get me focusing on it more again, though, so I am hopeful that I will be able to maintain that bit of momentum as we move forward into the dark times.

Also known as winter.

Gibberish

Man, if I had stayed up and delayed taking Brody out to pee only to watch the Jays lose last night, I would have been pissed!

Happily, that was not the case.

Sadly, I am just as exhausted again today. And out of pain meds so picked up some ibuprofen on my way home last night, along with a 4TB external drive to which my computer is currently being backed up. Hopefully everything is okay. I don’t like leaving stuff like that on when I leave the apartment for the day. :/

Anyway.

Once again, there’s nothing I really feel like talking about today. Just trying to get my life together, as always.

And mostly failing, as always, but at least the ideas haven’t dried up yet!

Last night I sent the opening excerpt from my first novel in to the current Writer In Residence at the Toronto Public Library. No idea if I will make it in, as she is taking the first 35 submissions, or something, and they’ve been open for the past couple of weeks. Still, it’ll be good to talk about it again with her if I do get the chance. I was thinking about what I wanted to do with the story, and last night I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go that route anymore.

Today I though maybe I still do, but just a little different from what I was initially thinking. So we’ll see. I’ve got some time yet before I’d talk to her, if I get to at all. Maybe that’ll be the kick in the pants I need to map it out a bit more clearly in my mind, if nothing else!

For Me

I think I’m going to cancel both GWR applications I currently have on the go. Both are pretty amazing ideas, but they also require a little help from a lot of other people, and I just don’t think I have it in me to count on other people anymore. Not right now, at least. I have so much else on the go that lighting a fire under the asses of the masses just isn’t sitting well within my current energy spectrum. It’s too bad, because if done well, the benefits of the one in particular would far outweigh the effort involved, but it’s that whole “if done well” part that kills all of my big ideas. I just can’t get anyone to see a similar big picture to what I see, so I spend my time trying, instead of doing.

And we all know what Yoda would have to say about that.

In an effort to be less vague, one attempt is for Largest Online Photo Album of Animals. I wanted to tie it in with the zoo, and fill it with photos of those who call the zoo their home. I thought it would be a fun way to highlight the zoo and its residents, and bring other zoo-goers together by having everyone contribute as many photos of zoo animals as possible to the album. The current record is just over 104k, and while I could probably break it on my own, the guidelines state that more people have to contribute, and that all of the photos are then compiled by one entity. In my mind, I saw the zoo getting involved and helping to get the word out, and visitors from all over adding their photos to the online album to push us way over the top in celebration of all the amazing critters who live there. Then the album would be online for all to see whenever and from wherever they wish, while the zoo gets a tiny spot in history. Maybe even for longer than my first Guinness World Record.

If it was done well.

The other attempt is for Longest Line of Paper Hearts. I was really excited about this one, too. I envisioned getting people to help by cutting up tons of paper hearts and mailing them to me or bringing them to me, and then having some kind of small event – maybe a launch for the children’s picture book about hearts I keep meaning to work on – wherein all the hearts are strung together and laid out and measured officially for Guinness, and pictures taken and fun had by all. Maybe even display the chain into a giant heart of its own after the measurement had been taken. Then once I was the official record holder, it would also be great promo for my book.

But again, there are time limits on how long you can go between having your application accepted and actually making the attempt, and even though I’m sure I could cut all the paper hearts myself and figure out the rest of it alone, too…like, why? When I already have so much to do (both need to do and want to do), why would I take all that on, too, unless it were to serve some larger purpose?

Like, not change the world, or anything, but do something positive for me; expand my knowledge or skill-set, market myself in a new way or to a new audience – even just be something I enjoy doing when it’s not for a record. Cutting out paper hearts? Not so much. Taking pics of animals? Always, but preferably without a set time-line or target number of photos I need to take in order to not feel like a failure.

Basically, I want to do more things for me, and I’m not sure these particular things fit the bill anymore.

For Kate

This happened today, in honour of my Kate the Kitten:

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There is so much I want to say – about how wonderful our artist, Mishka, at Inked Avenue was, about brunch after, about the fun Laurier alumni event after THAT was, and most of all about Lizz and the fact that I have no words for her selfless amazing love-ness.

But I am exhausted, and must take this puppy out for a walk before I sleep.

So for now, two things. One is this cool pic my partner in crime for the day made for me:

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And the other is that, the whole time, there was a small heart shape in the skylight above the chair:

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More soon.

Out of the Minds of Babes

I don’t really remember ever wondering where babies came from.

I mean, obviously they came from the mama’s belly. She grew them in there like potatoes, or something.

What I pondered over for some time, instead, was why a baby would look anything like its father. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the father had to do with any of it, yet people were constatly talking about how much some baby or other resembled their father. Once it had been alive for awhile, I could see how some would grow to take on certain traits or whatever, because people and pets start to look like each other all the time. But as a newborn baby? Why would the potato look like the father at all, let alone MORE like him than the mama who grew it? Made zero sense.

So I gave it some thought, and what I came up with (keep in mind my skull likely hadn’t fully formed yet) was that kissing must be how some of the dad could transfer over to the baby’s appearance. Clearly that was the only physical contact that moms and dads had with one another (actually, I briefly considered some sort of airborne transfer while they were sleeping next to one another every night, but disposed of that theory because it seemed too far-fetched, even to my young self). Pleased with my initial theory, I asked my mom about it. However, the way she said, “um…noooo” gave me the sense that she didn’t want to talk about it, so I dropped the subject and went back to my ponderings.

Eventually I did figure it out.

It’s funny how brains work, especially for children when they are learning everything about just existing in the world around them. I’m not sure, but I feel like I actually vocalized fewer questions than many kids seem to. I think I wanted to figure it all out on my own, if possible. I’m sure I pestered my parents for answers as much as the next kid, but on the inside it felt like I was working more inside my mind than I was speaking things out loud.

I remember thinking for the longest time that one of my great-grandmothers was actually named GRAPE-grandma, because that’s what it had sounded like when other people said it, and she often wore a purple dress. At least, my only memory of her is sitting in her chair wearing a purple dress when we arrived and went to hug her. Actually, she may have worn one to a family reunion, too. She may never have worn purple in real life, but that’s how she’s always existed in my memory. Grape-grandma. Whenever I got a glass of grape juice from the fridge I’d think of her.

One year I convinced myself that, while Santa Clause might not be real, the Easter Bunny most certainly was. See, I’d figured out the Santa thing, but while I was in – I want to say Georgia – over Easter one year, I was certain that I could hear everyone else asleep in their rooms while still hearing an extra “person” in the kitchen at one point during the night. Easter Eve, let’s call it. And naturally there was chocolate all over the place the next morning, so it must have been the Easter Bunny. Process of elimination, yo!

Even then, though, part of me wasn’t entirely sure I believed myself. I just wanted to believe. (cue X-Files theme).

What else? I had imaginary friends…I forget their names – Jody and…something? Both boys, a bit younger than me. And I think I pictured them as cartoons. I was also pretty confident in my invisible Smurf friends for awhile.

I wanted very badly to have some form of ESP, so I made myself some quiz cards with, like, the different shapes on them and such, but quickly learned that I could not, in fact, quiz myself very accurately. I’m too easy to fake out.

I think this card is…a triangle.”

(Turns over to see a circle)

I mean circle, I was actually thinking circle. What was I saying triangle for? Totally meant circle!”

I also was – and still am – quite skilled at mis-hearing song lyrics. Yet I dreamed of becoming a Mini Pop.

I was – and still am – a very big dork.

In other more current news, my #BowlForKidsSake team for BBBST has been registered! We are Esmer’s Lane-gels, and we’ll be rocking the lanes (with gutter balls, if you’re me) on Thursday March 3rd! Before then, however, we need to rasie as much as possible to help out the kiddos. If you have time, please consider a donation to the cause – no amount too small, trust me! – and even more importantly, please help spread the link around to everyone you know! There’s not a lot of time left, but I am confident in our communal super powers!

Here’s the link to my fundraising page: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3235990#.VrzBQHMc0ds.twitter&panel1-2

Please share!