Back in the Woods
Sunday nights give way to Mondays, which are my favourite day of the week. I'm in that phase of the night between dinner and the time when most people get tired and go to bed, but for those as nocturnal as I am, bedtime for the regular population becomes I'm-hungry-again time. If I have a swath of tasks to complete the next day, I can counteract I-am-hungry-again time with a glass of water and forced rest, even if it means having to hush the howls of my relentless stomach with the same verbal assuage you'd employ to stop a pouting child from throwing a fit. The reason I love Mondays is that Monday gives way to productivity. Monday means regular people are back at the office and I can book appointments again. It means transit runs on a regular schedule. It means that while the rest of the world dreads having to go back to work, the energy I've cultivated over the permanent weekend that is my life can finally be expelled back into the bustling Monday universe which inspired me to begin with. In other words, I'm trying to pound out this blog entry before I get hungry again because tomorrow is slated to be one of the epic Mondays I've grown to love.
If you're reading this right now, it already is Monday. January 9, 2017. While I didn't make any attempts to try to hype up this particular day, you're looking at the miracle I've just graced you with. Welcome to my new website!
This re-launch took some time to go public for a few reasons. I mentioned on my Facebook page that I didn't feel that the update would be worth presenting unless I had new content to show with it. While I've written a lot of poetry over the last two months, as far as that new content is concerned, you're looking at it. Let's just say that writing extended memoranda about my daily life, my curious inquiries into the cosmos of love, familial dysfunction, and the universe at large, and what it's like to hop on planes to different corners of this world as a woman like me haven't exactly been… translatable. Rather, life has left me feeling disconnected, or if you will, lost for words.
It's a disconcerting thing to be a writer and lost for words. Lately I haven't just been lost for words on the page, but I've been mute to my own verbal sounds and cues, struggling to connect in real life with those close to me. My connections have failed repeatedly this past December, more than the scope of dropped calls from halfway up a mountain where there is No Service and shotty wifi, not unlike the cabin I'm sitting in right now. I haven't found the words to reach out to everyone I ultimately want to. I've tired myself out with the effort, and for those I did find the words for, it seems that those words have rarely, if ever, been met with the right care, or were sent back to me in boxes labelled, "Return to Sender." For that, in and of itself, I wish I had words to sum it all up, but I don't. Not for any lack of being able to articulate myself but because the stage of life I'm currently in offers no previous expertise or helpful guidance. I am navigating adulthood, and I'm brand new on the trail.
Albeit gradually, I'm approaching a stage where I can begin to reflect on what the last decade has brought me, how I've changed, and what I'm uniquely able to offer this world after I'm gone. That's the direction I'm going to try to move in going forward. I don't know what that looks like, creatively or through a lived experience that I can comment on and present creatively. I know that all of my past work has been a series of attempts to communicate my insatiable depth of curiosity about the world, about the why's and how's behind things no one wants to talk about - things that I want to talk about and also avoid completely, because some of these things conjure up feelings in me which are so intense that it's hard to bear. Some of these are negative, like the way I feel about sexism, and the lack of sympathy I have for shitty parents. Others are positive, overwhelmingly positive, so much that even a wordsmith as wordly as I've managed to become has no words, because that is when I turn social media off, I forget completely about my website, and I can't even begin to play the role of commentator unless I get out and live it completely. In other words, it's a general rule that when you hear from me less, I'm very happy.
I've taken quite a bit of time away from my channels, collectively, since early December. I moved to Salt Spring Island at the end of November and then got caught up in a whirlwind in the short weeks that followed. I had to come home for Christmas unexpectedly, even though I barely saw any of my family. Then I spent nearly two weeks in Toronto. I've been all over the place, posting here and there without giving the full story. I can tell you that there were periods of bliss which were intoxicating, gratifying beyond anything I ever thought could happen to anyone during their short life on earth. I can also tell you that some periods have been devastating. Utter and absolute carnage of my heart and soul. I have been shown both the brightest and the darkest faces of life in the last month. As a result, I've been trying to piece my worldview back together and find out where I fit in the grand scheme - as one of hundreds of sensitive, wide-eyed creatives trying to 'make it' while I'm here - and then ultimately, how to piece myself back together so that existing in the grand scheme can still be possible, however it makes sense to me.
I came to the woods to write a memoir. My memoir. I hoped sincerely that if I made my life as simple as possible, motivated by the one thing that's remained constant for me through the ups and downs the of the last 25 years - my writing - that the words would come. I hoped that to be near the ocean, nestled into the brush of arbutus and cedar, falling asleep to the calls of owls and waking to the rapping of woodpeckers would all, collectively, help me make sense of my life thus far. I thought that all of this could calm me enough to tell the stories I've been wanting to for years and years. My stories. I thought that if I created my own safe space and gave myself all of the things I didn't have growing up - speaking particularly to a connection to nature, an allowance for energy, and room/credibility to pursue writing at all - that finally, the words would come.
I'm back in the woods now. It's still snowing here, and like the Vancouver Islanders say, it's a different kind of cold. A long cold snap. This cabin is longer, roomier, but harder to keep warm. It's also darker, literally situated in the woods with my fire pit linking with a public hiking trail. There are no water pipes, so I'm pumping my own water after gathering it from a well. And yes, there's an outhouse too. A nice outhouse. It's surrounded by cedar and was probably built with it too, though my knowledge of wood is about as good as my knowledge of wild mushrooms: pitiful. Heavy on me like a wet blanket, over all of this, is that I'm alone. For the next three months, this sacred space is only mine. The cabin I lived in last month, by comparison, felt like a fleeting fantasy dream I was waiting to wake up from. I struggled for all of those three-and-a-half weeks to feel at home or to make that space feel like my own, to occupy a space made for two. Even when I wasn't alone in it, there was so much missing there. Yet here, somehow, I knew this space was mine as soon as I dropped my bags. Or at least, it could be mine while I would be living in it. Every space is rented. I want to be here and I also want to come home to this place, meaning I also want to get out and do things, and engage with the seemingly utopian community of Salt Spring I have the unique privilege to be a part of right now. Life here is unlike any kind of life I've known or seen. Yet whether or not the words come, for my past life, this life, or otherwise, the one thing I'm completely sure of is that this is where I need to be.
If you're reading this, you've (perhaps unintentionally) subscribed to a couple of different categories of interest, such as: Adulthood: the converging of the past and the person one wants to be. Survival and life after trauma. Feminism, by virtue. Poorly-budgeted travel. My struggle to carry my own privilege and my lividness over the unfair privileges of others close to me. If you're reading this, you have some interest in the things that make me tick. The things that have made me, me. If you're reading this, you want to hear my story. So I invite you to [continue to] follow my journey, and I hope this new website makes that a more enjoyable experience for you. I look forward to continuing to share my words, my commentary and my ideas, with you in this way, and no matter what this peculiar chapter in my life brings to the page, I thank you for coming into my life, and thereby bringing life to my words.