his voice caught fire
on the way out of his mouth
and it drowned out every other sound
in my head
but the two second silences
were the loudest
and by the end of the show
he’d bled out all his sorrow
and i wondered
if this was the last time
if it was always the last time
Homeward bound, head heavy from that last glass of wine and the heat of a tube station that’s been exhaling fumes all day, like a seasoned smoker.
In 20 minutes, the only thing I’m going to want to do is rest my tipsy head on my fluffy pillow and knock on dream land’s door but I made a promise 13 days ago, so I feel I should give you something substantial. Alas, gravitas is not on the menu at this late hour.
I doubt you want to hear about the Tagliatelle I had for dinner (which was one tasty Tagliatelle), or the table talk of foreskin and the quality it takes as a gentleman grows into his wise years (having an A&E doctor for a friend always makes for highly salient conversations). So instead, I’ll tell you this – before I tucked into the wine, I listened to a lovely author talk about “Writing the book in you” in the Library Bar of Shoreditch House. And this lovely man had many lovely things to say about writing and I took many notes but what really stuck was this simple quote by Neil Gaiman:
“Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving“
Yes! Adamant yes! And before the wine, I could have told you why this stuck and I’m certain that I’ll reflect on it tomorrow but the tube is nearing Lancaster Gate… correction, the train has gone two stops past Lancaster Gate and we must now backtrack home and if that isn’t a sign to sign off, then I’m sure I don’t know what is.
So good night, dear friends, and sweet dreams.
When one is walking England’s green and pleasant land, one expects to see a dog walker here and there. England is, after all, a nation of dog lovers. What one might not expect to see, however, is a group of people walking twenty Border Terriers.
Border Terriers always remind me of this this scene in Anchorman, when Ron Burgundy has a heart to heart with his dog Baxter. So, naturally, all I could see the day I bumped into this pack of dogs was Baxters in all shapes and sizes– everything from fat Baxter to little itty bitty Baxter. Twenty furry brothers from another mother.
When I asked one of the dog owners what was going on, she said they were a club of Border Terrier owners whose dogs… get this… have a Twitter Account? I laughed. Because that’s what you do when someone tells you their dog has a Twitter account. But my laugh did not receive a reciprocal response. Joking, this woman was not.
I found it both absurd and amusing in equal measure and I remember seeing that very same look once before (actually, many times before) when I’ve told people about my blog. “You… write about your life on the Internet and meet strangers who also write about their life on the Internet?” I might as well have an ass for a face and testicles dangling from my chin.
I suppose dog owners form clubs in the same way that I meet bloggers for coffee. Standard stuff in this modern world.
Mind you… they are like wise miniature Buddhas covered in hair, so who’s to say?
2007 – Une année sans lumière
That was the year our dog got hit by a car and we buried him in the back yard and it snowed, and snowed and snowed that winter, slowly covering his grave with a blanket of white. And we drank a bottle of wine (at least) a night and our TV was the only source of light. This went on for months.
I started making mix tapes that winter, in the old house where the wind seeped through the cracks and I wore blankets like furs. Every day, I searched for new, obscure bands to listen to. It was my way of escaping grief and a relationship weighed down by too many things for too many years and the mice in the attic that kept us awake at night and a winter that was so cold.
That is how I stumbled upon Une année sans lumière (A year without light) - a perfect description of my 2007. And that was when I fell in love with Arcade Fire.
2008 – No cars go
One year spilled into the next and I found this video and my God, it was so full of hope and energy and in the midst of a winter where everything was falling apart, and all I could do was spend my days watching reruns of the O.C., I felt alive again for 5:32 minutes ten times a day. It felt like an invitation to run away, like the end could be the beginning, the cusp of something big… it felt like being between the click of the light and the start of the dream.
The fish in the pond survived that long winter, we did not. In February of 2008, I boarded a plane back to Montreal.
I still get goosebumps when I watch that video.
2009 – Keep the car running
A year later, I met Joe.
We’re speeding down the highway and he plays this song and gives me a wink in the rear view mirror, because he knows how much I love Arcade Fire and it is one of those perfect 4 minutes in my life because I’m traveling and I’m free and I’ve just spent the past three days shagging this amazing guy and I feel like myself for the very first time in a long time.
He drops me off in Bristol. We say good-bye and thank each other for the 3-night stand and little do I know that I’ve just embarked on a 3-year long distance relationship and torrid love affair with a British man.
2010 – The Suburbs
I’d just moved into a new apartment on Casgrain and the walls were blood-red and deep turquoise (every. single. wall. in the flat) and I spent the entire summer painting over the dreadful colours whilst listening to The Suburbs on repeat. There is no better soundtrack to Montreal than this album and it will always hold a special place in my heart and it will always be summer in Montreal to me.
On the eve of my 35th birthday, Arcade Fire surprised fans with a free concert in a Montreal shopping mall parking lot. This was my first time seeing them live and I went on my own because it was last-minute and I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, and frankly I quite enjoy going to gigs alone. I got in line with thousands of fans from Lionel Groulx metro and followed the Suburb signs and joined the crowd and you should have seen the grin on my face that night. I swear it could have lit up the whole world.
2013 – Reflektor
Last night, I took my husband to see his very first Arcade Fire performance (tickets sold out in five minutes- I still can’t believe I managed to snatch two). We’d spent the prior evening gluing mirror tiles in the shape of a tie on his t-shirt and I covered my old fingerless gloves with reflectors. And we joined the rest of the fans in a 150 yard queue and when we entered the Roundhouse there was a Mariachi band to greet us and glitter and shiny silver curtains everywhere and face painters for those that came without costume and there were mirror balls and there was light. There was light everywhere, in every way.
And given the year we’ve had, which essentially involved being mirrors to each other on this crazy journey called marriage, this couldn’t be more apt.
In 6 years, I went from une année sans lumière to a thousand shimmering lights.
And Arcade Fire was there every step of the way.
There are few things in life that make me happier than getting up early, before everyone else, in the quiet of morning, when my thoughts haven’t yet caught up with me, when everything is hushed and dawn is yawning and the sun has just begun its slow rise over the horizon, ever hopeful.
And then, if I’ve woken early enough and returned quickly enough for my husband to still be asleep, to slip under the duvet and nuzzle the cold tip of my nose against his warm neck and have a few more minutes of idleness before joining the rest of the world in waking. And if, by then, it has begun to rain then all the better. Because the lulling sound of rain on your window pane is another of life’s little pleasures.
So much of our daily life is spent inside (literally and figuratively), with the tenuous preoccupations that distance us from ourselves. Nature is where I escape the chatter. Everything slows down to its beat, its rhythm, its cycles.
Andrew explained it in a way that I never could:
“Cycles are a part of life. Daily cycles, seasonal cycles, and cycles of birth and death. Nature has an inherent understanding of these things and it offers no resistance to them. Flowers seem happy to whither away, as if they know they will nourish the soil and allow a newer one to rise up in their place.
The lesson to learn here is that nothing lasts. All things pass away. Whatever you are experiencing now is merely the precursor to what you will be experiencing next. The cold winter nights always turn into the warm spring sun… and back again. Nature allows the cycles to happen and never fights them. In fact, it understands that the cycles are what allows life to flourish. If the tides only came inward, we would all drown.
Nature teaches us that for everything there is a season and the right timing. Sometimes in our life we want certain things to happen right now. It is hard to wait for the fruits of our actions and we expect results immediately. This is especially ingrained in us now with the fast results of the Internet, where you can look up questions and get instant answers. But the really good things in life – self-discovery, meditation, contemplation, self-transcendence – are not like instant coffee. They take time, practice and effort.“
Is there anything left to say, really? Except this: enjoy every second of your Sunday night. Take it easy, take it in. Because Monday will come whether you like it or not and Sundays are for rest and roasts and blankets and books and all those things that bring you happiness.
What a crazy mental week it has been. Kerazy!!! So the husband and I have decided to escape the madness and get the hell out of dodge for the night.
The train at present is positively jammed — somewhat reminiscent of India minus the smell of exhaust and the charming chai walla walking down the aisle. And it’s hard to imagine that a mere 55 minutes away sits the quaint and ever enchanting village of Henley on Thames.
We’re so excited to get away and talk about the house over a bottle of wine and have a lie in and a slow morning which I suspect will involve hours of lounging in bed with newspapers and books and coffee. And if the weather is on our side, and even if it is not, we’ll stretch our cramped legs and hunchbacked shoulders on a nice long countryside walk and maybe find a pub with a fire where we can warm up come late afternoon.
I realise that I am extremely lucky to even contemplate such getaways let alone live them. And for that, I am grateful.
Wishing you all your version of a relaxing holiday, whether it be pancakes with your kids or a matinee on a rainy day or catching up with friends.
This morning I went digging through some old journals and found a strange little nugget. Not gold, per se. Not gold at all, actually. It’s more like a chunk of mica. And so, today, we are hopping in my time machine and going back to the year 2011, which was, by all appearances, an introspective year. And I suppose it would have been, because I’d just moved to London for the first time and there were many “what the fuck?” moments.
When I first I read these scribblings, the critic stepped in hard. “WHAT A LOAD OF SELF-INDULGENT SHIT,” she said. Harsh, I know. The critic speaks in CAPS, always. Because it wants to be heard above everything and everyone else. Having said that, the critic is kind of right in this instance. This poem (?) is nothing incendiary. In fact, it’s the very opposite of incendiary. But that’s not the point, dear friends.
My point, my point? Ah yes! Here it is. I like looking back at this stuff, no matter how much it makes me cringe, because it gives me perspective (albeit a marijuana induced one). In the sense that, if you are still writing about the same shit two years down the line, you better check yo’self, honey. Otherwise, just consider it part of the human experience. The beauty lies in witnessing the evolution (hopefully) throughout the years and accepting those layers and those stories and those first drafts, which have stacked up to make you who you are today (including the cheesy poems and the embarrassing moments).
The truth is, everyone has one of these streams of consciousness (and 99% of the time, it’s about a boy) written on an old receipt and tucked away in a journal, locked up in some cabinet or hidden under a mattress. The difference is that nobody shares them. But why don’t we? Why do we care so much what other people think? I’ve made a life of being a pleaser and it is bloody exhausting, people. So fuck it! I’m going to share a poem that I wrote when I was stoned in 2011.
I honestly don’t even remember being high in 2011 and couldn’t possibly think of why I would have been. But stoned I was and this, ladies and gentlemen, is my brain on drugs.
i’m going to take the next 5 minutes
because i am
to look at that organ called the heart
that sweet potato in your chest
mashed by love
and how it’s been beating to the beat of him mainly
and how you feel like when you walk down the street
and have no idea how you got home
because your mind was
it has been suggested
that i simply roll with it
and enjoy the sheer agony of love
the obsessing, the wondering, the worrying
the non stop one track thought, skipping
over and over
but the man makes his way
like a snake
slithering along the wrinkles and folds of my brain
back to the frontal lobe, the center stage
and i disappear