The Ephemerality of an Idea

I am writing this post from my iPhone 4, typing with my middle finger as I balance a pen under my index finger.

I’m in a writing class, listening to the prof with one part of my brain, and, with the other part, thinking about how much of a slacker I have been on this blog.

When I updated my blog site this spring and downloaded this app on my phone, I had such romantic hopes that, now that I had such a handy productivity aid at my fingertips, I would be inspired to write regularly.

The romance then proceeded to wither a few weeks later when I got distracted by _____________________.

~~~~

Today in the reading for my writing class there was a section on ideas: where to find them (just about anywhere), how to nurture them (write them down, then add to them as your mind digests them and comes up with related ideas), and how to develop them into viable story options.

The author kept an empty notebook with him at all times, so that whenever his brain churned out a new idea (often in the shape of, “I wonder what would happen if…”, or “What if…?”, or “Is it me? What is it about me…?” etc…), he could start to build a complete idea or ideas.

My brain ate up that idea. I get ideas at the most inconvenient times (2 a.m., driving, in the shower), but I’ve learned that the key is to record the idea as soon as possible, while it still retains the ephemera that only something brand-new can evoke.

So… What’s my problem, if I have ideas and I know enough to record them?

My problem is that I haven’t been honouring those wisps of curiosity and inquisitiveness that flit through my mind. I haven’t been writing them down or seeing them through.

~~~~~

By now, it’s later in the day and I have come back to this several times. I am
also now typing with both thumbs like you do on a smart phone.

I have a renewed resolve to do better, to try harder, to record thoughts before they fly away.

Will you be my sounding board?

Advertisements

Christians=Al Quaeda?

Yesterday, Jian Ghomeshi (host of Q on CBC radio) interviewed a homosexual columnist named Dan Savage about his response to the recent trend of gay teenagers committing suicide. Mr. Savage decided to reach out to these kids who are struggling with their identity and bullying by starting a YouTube video project called It Gets Better, where celebrities, etc. are adding their own stories of encouragement to these kids/people.

Unfortunately, Mr. Savage did a very stupid thing by way of defending the bullied teens: he blamed the death of these kids on the church and Christians, saying “They’d rather have dead kids than gay kids… their blood is on their hands”, basically equating “Christians” (he mentioned “fundamentalist” a few times, but didn’t always qualify like that) with the extremist Muslim terrorists that have attacked the USA.

This appalls me for two reasons: a) That there are people that think all people calling themselves “Christians” behave like the the Phelps family and the Westboro Baptist Church, the people that picket soldiers’ funerals with the message that God killed the soldiers because he is punishing America; b) That there are people out there calling themselves “Christians” and behaving egregiously towards other people!

Why? Why do these people persist with their ignorant hate?

And why do other people refuse to find out the objective truth about the majority of the Christians before ignorantly labeling millions of people in a manner similar to the stereotypical “Republican” way of viewing all Muslims?

Glamparella

Glamping. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of it. It’s all the rage among the fashion-forward, upwardly-mobile, and comfort-inclined, ie; Me.

For the ignorant:

Glamping: (n.) Glamorous Camping. (adj.) A form of camping in which the participants enjoy amenities usually associated with five-star accommodations.

Having decided that I should become a Glamper, I did a little preliminary research, and was not disappointed. I found that Glamping, despite it’s very “now” moniker, is actually a throw-back to those African safari camps of the early 1920’s.

Picture large white canvas tents with wide awnings, Persian carpets, king-size beds, dressing and wash rooms, antique furniture, china dishes, oil lanterns casting a warm glow everywhere, and perhaps a tame tiger cub on a fluffy mat in the corner.

Now add colour to the tent, electrical outlets to supply those “oil” lanterns (not to mention our espresso makers, margarita blenders, flat-irons, and iPod docks), and trade the tiger cub for a mini-bar, and you’ve got modern Glamping!

Some people are Glam-purists: they refuse to take any electronics with them, and instead plan to observe the beauty of nature from their comfortable oases. Others consider their Glamp-site to be a Four Seasons without walls and expect every possible convenience, including spa treatments, baby- and dog-sitting services, and gourmet chefs. I’d consider myself in the first group, with the addition of a FEW electronics, namely an espresso maker, a coffee-grinder, a cell-phone charger (I’d keep it on vibrate and in my tent), and my laptop on which to write and maybe watch movies.

It seems that the rich and famous have a natural head start on us regular folk, but I hope to find some fellow Glamparellas who are willing to pay a little more for equipment, haul a little more weight to the site, and scorn, just a tiny bit, the tradition of “hard-core” camping (read: canned food, instant coffee, damp bedding, flimsy mattresses that allow you to get familiar with every bump and crevice of the forest floor, etc.) in favour of comfort, good food, a bottle of wine or two, and hours spent with our feet up with a good book, in the open air and sunshine.

Tell me that doesn’t sound heavenly!

A Day in My Life, June 2008

I had a sudden desire today to chronicle and compare the different stages of my life, as I look back and notice that my life in June 2008 is remarkable different from that of June 2007, June 2006, June 2005, and so on.

I invite you to be a witness on this journey.

June 2008 finds me 27 years old, living in a two-bedroom second-floor apartment in the only apartment building in a tiny town in East Huron County called Brucefield. This town is known for it’s flashing light, yellow if you’re driving between Clinton and Exeter on Highway 4, or red if you’re coming from either Seaforth or Bayfield. There is one elementary school, one church, one drive-in restaurant, two mechanic shops, one Asian/Home Decor/B&B/Lunch Room location, and one fire station.

My apartment overlooks a cornfield, the view of which is mostly obstructed by a lovely birch tree. Said tree helps me feel more confident walking around in my apartment in less-than-decent clothing on summer nights. After all, who would be driving by slowly enough whose gaze could penetrate the birch branches in the split second I happen to be passing through my dining room, several feet from my beautiful picture window?

I enjoy living alone, though sometimes I do wish someone was there to care whether I came in or not, or to wonder where I was, or to motivate me to do dishes, finally! My neighbours are understanding and quiet, the area is safe, and I actually have a place to call home. MY home. I’ve immensely enjoyed painting and decorating my apartment, putting all of my good taste to good use in a place where I’m the boss, now and forever.

Another addition to my life is that of Trixie the Toyota, a pretty, dark-green 1997 4Runner who goes with me everywhere I go. She hauls the accoutrements of my life and hobbies without complaint. She has survived being rolled over in the ditch after skidding out on an icy country road, being hit-and-run by some unknown person, a not-so-successful attempt at backing up a trailer, and carrying some of my more treasured furniture.

Not so enjoyable are the bills that go with being established and mobile, namely cell phone, rent, insurance, hydro, phone/internet, groceries, gas, repairs, etc. I can’t say as I ever yearned for that part of nesting, but I take it in stride, usually. I’ll be much happier when I can finally get my tax returns done (for the past 2 years), pay off my credit card, and have money set aside for winter tires.

I have spent more than a year at the same job, as a server at The Brew’n Arms English pub and restaurant in Bayfield, Ontario. Earlier this year, I graduated to keyholder and Dining Room Manager, as well as Kitchen Painter and Orchid-Caretaker extraordinaire. My bosses are wonderful people who have become friends and family, as well as the most understanding and flexible supervisors anyone could ask for. They make me want to stay and do my best for them, for their business, for their town.

Last year at this time, I was also working as a drywaller, and, shocker! I don’t miss it a tiny bit. I do enjoy my refined house-painting skills, which I have recently put to good use in a “cottage” in Bayfield, and hope to expand as a second job. If you hear of someone looking to hire a house painter, give them my number!

I’m not attending church because I couldn’t handle the one I had called “home” for years. I’m generally fed up with the institution that is what church has become, with all its expectations and traditions and legalism. I would enjoy a faith-based community of believers that is honest and open, a group that can laugh and be reverent in an informal way. I really could expand this paragraph to a whole essay, but suffice it to say that I have not encountered such a community, but I still seek to hold onto my beliefs. I am discovering more of what life is like on “the other side” (outside the Christian bubble), and it’s very educational, despite occasionally dangerous.

If it were possible to live on coffee, I’d do it.

I’ve joined the wonderful realm of BlackBerry, as I once dreamed of doing. And I’m paying for it, too.

Writing is still my best communication method.

I rarely see earlier than 10 AM, or close my eyes earlier than 1 or 2 AM. I’d like to change that.

The music in my life has developed over the past year as well. I am the youngest voice of the all-female cover band, Cactus Jam, and I love it, despite playing mostly Legions. I was also privileged enough to be part of Noted!, a project sponsored by the United Way in my county, which is helping to boost the music careers of the 17 women chosen to participate. We got to record 14 tracks in a professional studio, and a great-sounding CD is the result. This past winter I also ventured out to sing a few times at Open Mic nights at a local pub, and have been the featured soloist at two church events.

This year finds me recently motherless, a drastic blight on anyone’s life, and definitely on mine. It has changed so many things and finally propelled me into nesting in the first place. It also made my brother and I guardians of our youngest brother and launched me further into the land of disabled children in Ontario. I now have a lawyer, communicate regularly with several case workers, get all kinds of official mail, and have to return junk mail still addressed to Mom.

June 2008 also finds me blonde, and with an even greater fashion sense. I love that about growing older! I predict I’ll still be stylish in my 80s. If I’m not, remind me of now.

I’ve discovered I love flowers and plants, doing the Toronto Saturday Star crossword, Pinot Grigio and Shiraz, premium beer, CBC Radio, brie on melba rounds with semi-dried tomatoes in duck confit, Dollarama’s plain candles, serving dessert, mom’s old couch and armchair (with my apartment’s decor built around them), C&E used furniture in Goderich, Americanos from The Bean, and living in Huron County!!! (Sorry, but that deserved more than three exclamation points)
Being Sarah Elizabeth takes different shapes all the time, and I’m enjoying the process. Here’s to another year!

MYOB

My sister used to say that when we were asking questions she didn’t want to answer: “MYOB!!” (Mind Your Own Business) Who could say what inspired her. I can’t remember if she would have been old enough to be familiar with the acronym BYOB, but I’m guessing so.

We used to laugh and ignore her. At least, I don’t remember paying much attention, busy and snobby older sister that I was. Still, her silly acronym stuck with us, or with me, I should say, not able to speak for the rest of my siblings.

I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week, about an experience of hers that falls under the category of topics to which one might wish to reply with an indignant and more-than-a-little-impatient “MYOB!!!!!” (to all of my friends who are mothers: this is a third-party rant, her experience, as shared with me, embellished perhaps a tiny bit, not me claiming first-hand knowledge!)

Lu is pregnant, due in August. Like most women who are expecting, her belly is expanding, along with some other womanly parts.

Because pregnancy has to do with the miracle of life and everyone loves babies and if a woman can’t have her own she wants a piece of someone else’s and if a woman has already had her own she thinks she knows everything there is to know or even if a woman hasn’t had her own but her adopted daughter has she is entitled to claim the experience as her own and therefore freely dispense advice and unsolicited comments, Lu often gets told she’s big. And that she looks bigger today. And they thought she’d look bigger by now. And wow, that top makes her look so big!

Then there are the well-meaning but perhaps slightly overbearing grandparents and older siblings who insist she needs more onesies. And a high chair. And those special educational toys. And a set of bottles of all shapes and sizes, just to be prepared. And thingamabobs and whatchamacallits and whosits and whatsits galore!

(insert breath here)

Don’t let me forget the day she threw on a maternity shirt she’d purchased a few years ago, just to have something to cover her growing belly with. Everyone told her she looked cute in the flowered baby doll top which definitely covered her growing belly. Feeling un-cute, she however decided to accept the praise for what it seemed to be and feel cute as well. Imagine her chagrin when she caught a glimpse of herself in a shop window, only to find that the garment in question made her look like a mix between a beached whale and a 12-year-old. Cute? What were they thinking?!

And just once, couldn’t someone please start a conversation with her that isn’t solely inspired by her thick middle? Or ask her how she’s doing, instead of simply using her as a channel to get a baby fix?

Despite the miracle of procreation, people, shame on us for forgetting the woman in our haste to welcome her offspring.

MYOfreakin’B!!

Semi-Prude

I once was a prude. There are people (my little sister, perhaps), who still think I am. But I’ve come a long way in the last ten years. No, I don’t feel inclined to spill the beans here (at this time) about all of my indiscretions and anti-prudish behaviour, but suffiice it to say that I am no longer a prude.

prude |pro?d|
noun
a person who is or claims to be easily shocked by matters relating to sex or nudity.

Hairspray, a Weasel, and me

Recently, K and I went to see the musical movie Hairspray at our local theatre. It’s been so long since the two of us went out, and we need to take advantage of every opportunity we get, so we were really excited for this movie. We decided to go at the last minute, which meant we were throwing on lip gloss and deodorant in the car on the way into town. K had to pick something up on the other side of town, so she dropped me off at “the show” so I could buy us tickets and save us seats. Little did I know I had chosen poorly.

The show was starting when K arrived, then I went to get us some chocolate bars. When I got back, we had to whisper a little bit to decide who got which chocolate bar, and if the seats were okay, and if K had any water to wash down the chocolate, etc.

Such minimal and necessary discussion before the movie had even gained momentum was apparently abominable to the lady in front of us. Not one minute into the movie and without giving us a chance to get settled, she turned around to give us a big, loud, and rude, “SSSHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”

Taken aback at her testiness, we giggled, and tried our best to do it quietly. However, apparently she had a zero tolerance rule, because she gathered up her purse and left.

We looked at each other, amazed that someone could seriously be so uptight in a big room chock full of people out for a social evening!

K was so surprised that the movie was a musical and the opening scenes were of a, er, bigger girl, dressed in 50’s clothing, dancing through her city, and enthusiastically singing, “Good Morning, Baltimore!” that she (K) was shaking in near-silent laughter. I, however, had a funny feeling… that Weasel Wench hadn’t in fact left the theatre, and that any moment she’d be back with another person in tow.

Sure enough, seconds later, W. W. reappeared. As she haughtily took her seat in the dark room, the burly manager materialized at my side. He leaned over and said in a voice loud enough for half the theatre to hear, “Ladies, we’ve had a complaint that you’re making too much noise.”

I sort of cynically laughed in response and said, “I’m sorry, but we were hardly making any noise at all!” He told us to keep it down anyway and walked away.

I was in disgusted, embarrassed shock. As if! Did this woman not have children? Had she never enjoyed herself with her friends at a movie or elsewhere? Was she not aware that this was a social outing? She was obviously jumping to conclusions about us, too. I’m an uber-responsible person that can’t handle upsetting people! How dare she assume that I was a trouble-maker? And K is a great mother that keeps her 3 sons in a respectful line… she’s a TON of fun, but she’s aware of proper public protocol. Geez!!!

Weasel Wench definitely dampened the movie experience for me for a while. I wanted to move out of her range of hearing, but the theatre was pretty packed.

K and I tried our darndest to keep quiet, but the movie was absolutely hilarious (picture John Travolta as a big, self-conscious, frumpy laundrywoman with a funny accent, married to Christopher Walken!!), and it was difficult not to laugh out loud the whole time. We only allowed ourselves to giggle as loud as those around us were (John Travolta as a huge, self-conscious woman dressed in pink sequins and dancing around).

After writing all of this and experiencing none of the emotions I felt that night, it all seems kind of anticlimactic, but I was outraged that we had been treated unjustly by the clueless and anal Miss W.W. I hope someone shows her such a good time that she won’t ever be able to keep quiet again in her whole shrinking lifespan.