resolutions

decembrie 31, 2007

era problema daca e lasitate sau curaj sa-ti tii dorintele secrete. in sensul ca daca nu reusesti sa te tii de ce ti-ai promis sau ai trambitat, in ce fel o sa se reflecte asta asupra imaginii tale. ei iaca, eu = om fara multa imagine, si cu n-spe cure de slabire esuate si complexe afisate, vreau sa spun ce-mi doresc. si pe urma va spun ca astea is numa chestiile pe care de asemenea as dori sa incerc sa le fac…(am exclus din start lucruri de genul: breathe; stay there). deci, in ordinea descrescatoare a ce ma face sa nu dorm noaptea, as dori sa mentionez:

– vreau sa fiu publicata (nu pe internet sau ceva porcarie de gen, ci o treaba facuta din hartie, pe care lumea o achizitioneaza contra cost. nu intru acuma in detalii cum ar fi titluri de reviste canadiene, ca n-are sens)

– vreau o slujba (mizera e ok; spalat de vase, plimbat pisica, i don’t care. all i care e ca la sfarsitul unei luni teoretic sa-mi pot acoperi intretinerea si orezul)

– vreau sa-mi inchid niste probleme personale, in felul urmator: unii oameni (eu) trebuie sa se abtina uneori. ceilalti oameni din sus-amintitele ecuatii trebuie sa dea de la ei uneori. mingea e atat de in terenul lor incat am si uitat de cand am sutat-o, sau daca mingea a existat de fapt, sau daca existenta mingii sau a terenului lor e cazul sa ma mai preocupe. past a certain stage, no thank you. vreau sa constientizez ca dincolo de anumite limite, orice revenire/impacare e o minciuna a mea. se poate sa iubesti pe cineva si sa te tii departe tot restul vietii.

– vreau bicicleta mea, pe care sa merg tot eu; des.

– vreau sa merg la new york (daca continuu pe tema asta ma isterizez in detalii, deci mai bine nu).


soundtrack…

decembrie 31, 2007

…la un ipotetic film ‘vancouver from the bubble’. in acest moment al existentei mele cred ca si daca as putea/sti nu v-as pune aici linkuri la cantece. ia mereti voi pe youtube daca chiar vreti (ar fi cazu:)) sau downlodati-le, si suferiti (dar infinit mai slab, la mana a doua) cum am suferit eu 3 luni fara sa pot asculta nimic pe computer, iar de o luna incoace abia-abia…

in ordine absolut cronologica si appropriate:

Plain White T’s – Hey There Delilah

Tegan&Sara – Back In My Head

Matchbox 20 – How Far We’ve Come

Rufus Wainwright – Going To A Town

Julie Doiron – Me And My Friend

Patsy Cline – Walking After Midnight

REM – The One I Love

Queens Of The Stone Age – I Wanna Make It Wit Chu

P J Harvey – Dear Darkness

Radiohead – All I Need

Death Cab For Cutie – Someday You Will Be Loved

Metric – Grow Up And Blow Away

 (applause)


elusive/explosive: asking for some sort of feedback

decembrie 31, 2007

pentru ca tot nu mai am ce face cu ea (am scris-o pentru cineva, pe urma am vrut s-o bag intr-un workshop, dar m-am razgandit) o sa pun aceasta bucatica aici…it’s as close to non-fiction as my writing gets, i.e. pretty close, but with at least one shameless embellishment…si nu mi-e jena de ea, dar am sentimentul ca ceva nu ii chiar unde/cum trebe. deci daca aveti sugestii, pleasepleaseplease. (in plus, poate cineva, =sonia again, cred?) ma sfatuieste pe teme de copyright. nu ca is eu marea autoare, dar chiar e indicat sa stiu. multumiri anticipate.

  

Elusive/Explosive  (Nov. 08, 2007, Vancouver)

          One would have thought I’d be anxious about my first morning ever downtown; I might be, if I were alone. The fog hangs over the ocean, then as we get closer it comes lunging at the bus, wet and stingy-looking. I’d like to thread my way around the people hurrying to work, burning their lips on coffee. I’m not sad about the waiting hours lined up in front of me though, I should be lucky for it to take just one morning. On the bright side, I’ve got this idea, still unformed, just the right texture. I hope it- or rather she – she’s a female voice in a short story – came to me today aware that I’m going for the U.S. visa interview; that she’s willing to accompany me, ease me through the bureaucracy, and maybe even follow me further.

            I smile sleepily on the bus, all the way. I have to be careful with this idea. It’s happened to me before: if I lean too hard on her, or try to pin her down now, the voice beginning to uncoil in my head will switch back into an ordinary memory, of someone I knew long ago, maybe some girl in school I didn’t even like much. And then I have no use for it any more.

At 5 to 8 I walk to the back entrance of the embassy on Pender street, conveniently anonymous but glowing inside. All through the way upwards, to the offices, I can’t help noticing how many non-Caucasians are gathered up here, working and waiting. At the entrance check-point one of the two guards looks Hispanic, but the other one is what I still think of as typical American (are they even Americans, though? they should be Canadians) – tall, blonde, the kind of complexion where the blood rushes to the face easily, that open, boyish face trying to keep serious and focused.

 “Hello, and how are you today?” the Hispanic asks; he’s got a bit of a stoop, curly hair, wide grin. “Looks like a wonderful morning.” The other guy keeps silent, a six foot three mound of silence in his dark blue uniform.

“I’m fine, thanks”, I shrug, not knowing if I should ask back. I’m a third country citizen shielded by the aura of a promise; you are someone who stands by a door ushering people in all day long, so you must have a lovely nature and a good sense of humor. How are we supposed to feel, otherwise than fine? As I start climbing the stairs, I add an almost flirty smile for the American boy only. I wonder, does he get that a lot.

 In the waiting room where they take our passports and forms, two of the three clerks are Asian and the other one might be mixed race – plump lips and large nostrils.  In my line, most people are Mexican, and some an Arab denomination, with those small blue turbans looking like a sock with a big knot right on top (I probably should know what they mean by now). Then, at the elevators, one of the two attendants is black. They both smile gesturing helpfully when I don’t know which button to press. The family going up with me speak a Slavic language and their two white-blond girls cling to their parents’legs, giving me shy glances. Everybody is pleasant enough for a midweek morning, as we pass the second checkpoint. The Hispanic at the entrance joked about the things in my pocket, when I took so much time to sort out and show them every object –  “you can leave all this here”, he said, “you’ll be back anyway, eh?” By now I know the drill, and after stepping through the control gate I tilt the plastic tray to pour everything back in my fist and then in the coat pocket. Coins, bunch of keys, bus pass, pen, wristwatch.

The previous group have slumped into chairs along the narrow hall of the 20th floor, in front of the office windows, steeling themselves for the wait. There are about twenty numbers to go before me, which doesn’t sound bad at all, I might even get time to return to the library today. Just a little more, I almost whisper to my idea – we’ve come a long way.

 I get fingerprinted at one of the three windows. The woman (Caucasian, auburn-haired) shows me patiently how to press down first the other fingers, then the thumbs, onto the plastic slate. While doing that I suddenly realize the many ethnicities piled up here must be just a representative cross-section of Canadian population. Apart from the queue, it must be the same all over the country. I sit down, hugging my coat and my bag with all the stuff ruffled inside, and think about that for a minute, before launching myself into ambush mode.

First I’m a bit self-conscious about writing here, but soon I stop caring altogether. After all, I have written inside bus stop shelters, on table corners at cafeterias, on benches, leaning against walls. I rush into it scrawling automatically, in long spurts, in desperation to grab the moment, however short, in the most improbable of places.

The week after I arrived I saw a person, Canadian for all I know (during the break at a reading while everyone else was mingling), writing, right in the middle of the throng. I followed her frown, rub her hands, open a notebook crisply on her skirted knees, bite her lips as her pen gathered speed along the page. I looked at her, thinking, yes, I wasn’t wrong, there must be a place for me on this continent. I thought, good thing for us writers that it only takes a pen and paper. Bad thing that sometimes not even a month of weekends fuelled with coffee will suffice.

For this one time, it should work, is my mantra now that I’ve started. It should work, for this one time. 

When my number’s called the third time at window 2, I realize it’s me quickly enough to rise and step ahead of the murmurs and turned heads, still clenching my notebook. Across the counter I face a slight Korean guy (can’t tell why I think instantly Korean, not Chinese or Thai or whatever) whose teeth are severely misaligned, but even so he exposes them widely:

“Hello, how are you today?”

“I’m great, thank you.” – I try on a chirpy tone. Maybe you have to be born here for saying you’re great to come easy. Something feels slightly amiss, like an arm going numb.

“Wonderful day”, I add, chipping off even more of the wonderfulness of the day. In a few years, if I stay, I’ll think nothing of it. He’s reading through my form.

“Fine Arts student, eh?” he asks benevolently, checking me up as if to test if I look artistic enough. Hell, he’s not thinking writing one moment, and I feel a sudden urge to strangle him. Fine Arts to him is painting, maybe theater – I try to guess by his eyes which one. I could have put on a colored scarf today, or my peaked cap, at least earrings. I rest my palms on the counter – they do look like somebody’s who could be an artist, my fingers long and ink-stained, and the freshly reinforced corn on the side of my right thumb.

“December?”

“Excuse me?”

“You want to leave in December? Going to New York? To put on a show?”

“Err…not exactly”, I blush. “On holiday.”

 “You’ve just arrived here and already want to go to America? Why? This country is so beautiful.”

“I’m only planning to stay 10 days there”, I say obligingly.

“OK, well,” – he suddenly pushes a sheet of paper in front of me, pointing on it – “now you need to go to this place across the street, buy an express envelope, bring it back here, drop it at window 1. Write your address on it. So we can return your papers by next week. Thank you.”

Taking the directions I’ve noticed with brief, vague horror how narrow his cubicle is. I step out of the hall, turn to my idea, proprietorially, for solace – and she steps back coldly, remote, almost imperceptible. I round a corner, press the button to go down, knowing there’s no holding her back. I’m left on my own. The scribblings in my notebook, on a second look, are almost nonsensical.

The elevator spits me out by the front door of the building this time. Across the street, at the post office, a clerk smiles at my lost face as I go in and open my mouth: “For the visa?”. I nod sheepishly.

Carrying an extra envelope instead of an aura, and after a ten minutes’ wait during which the line behind me has stretched seriously, I greet the Hispano at the entrance: “Hello. Again.”, looking for a sign of recognition. He nods, indicates the tray with a short gesture, then turns to beckon to the next person. My American boy stands on the other side of the control gate, and I move towards him like he is my last hope of humanity, flinging myself across the threshold, arms held almost horizontally. My tray waits: coins, envelope, keys, wristwatch, with the open bag topping it. I smile at the guy again: alright?

He indicates that I should take off my coat, pats one pocket, the second, and freezes mid-gesture. I am turned towards him reaching to take the coat back, one foot on the first step to the elevator.

“What is this here?” he says, in a robotic voice. The first words he’s said to me. “What is this?” he repeats, his hand stopped on the pocket. “What is this?”

“I dunno”, I frown and step back down, and my artistic palm flies over the pocket, almost touching his military one. Silence buzzes grave over the entrance area. The line at the door has stopped moving, a whisper flutters towards the outside, all eyes are on me. The Hispano’s jaw has dropped, his mouth gaping sickly.

“Can-you-show-that-to-me?” the guy asks. I’ve heard this tone in movies, and must have laughed it off as exaggerated: the intimidation tone. He hasn’t upped the volume a bit, but the words come barking at me all at once, open, sonorous. They echo.

“It’s my pen”, I breathe. “Sorry, I forgot it there?”

“Can-you-show-it-to-me?”

I insert my hand in the pocket but still can’t reach it, it must be buried deep in the lining, that’s why I didn’t pull it out with the rest of the stuff. Midway through my fumbling, the thought hits: I am a terrorist threat. This is what reality feels like. The fingers stumble, terrified, comb faintly along the pocket corner, and there’s the cold metallic feel, the pointed tip.

“Here.”

The hallway breathes out in unison, a gust of relief.

When I google it afterwards, my first search, “pen + explosive”, doesn’t turn out much, then I put in “pen + weapon” and come upon a site which explains how easily a sharp blade could be hidden inside a pen, and only become apparent once you try to write with it. So I probably should have waited, held the pen for proper inspection – but right then what I do is, I pour the contents of the tray in my bag, not bothering to close it, and run up the stairs on half-melted feet. They let me go.

My hands shake on the envelope on the counter at window 1, leading the pen in  domesticated loops. I brought this pen with me from home. I might have thought it really was a weapon, on those days when I fantasized that luminous ideas were seeking me out, offering to be forced into words, which then would change…would make a change.

 Did I ever REALLY believe it was a weapon? Not until those 10 seconds there, when this pen managed to keep a roomful of people enthralled, holding their breath. But now I know it’s just a pen forever, and it will never in its life time do a comparable thing again. I walk out alone, there’s a fissure in the sky of this wonderful day. There’s no fissure, the fissure’s in my eye, anyway, water comes pouring down.


what not to write

decembrie 31, 2007

sometimes i feel like taking a stand.

my stand for being myself today is: don’t write about something just because, in your damn wish to please/social and cultural insecurity, you think you have to. deep breath, and take it from there.

1. i don’t want to write about my: family, childhood, home…NOT because i think of them as boring; NOT because i want to protect them from the leering glances of strangers, ha-ha. „taken for granted” is a poor label, but probably closer to the truth…. my background falls for me in the same category as my own eyes, if you wish: i know some women spend hours every day doing their make up, WELL I DON’T. same as i don’t pause in my morning prayer to feel thankful for my parents, grandma etc,a past that was joyfully protected from famine, physical violence, blatant injustice etc. the importance of my family sentiment, and of the beauty of my eyes occurs to me so slightly, deviously and seldom, i feel awkward about taking time and pencil to express it. instead, i choose to express open puzzlement at the people who DO cherish their family ties (soooo often in my earshot/sight, without me asking for it) and who wear mysterious, sophisticated make-up on a regular basis. admirable! very very „not me”!

2. when i engage with a subject, i want to have the uncertainty of the explorer, not the buzz of safety ringing in my ears. i want the faith that it’s mine and i can say something new/interesting about it, not (just) something stylistically brilliant. in my own manner, i want to do research – not play with words. ergo: sex scenes – nope; commonly-known-as-controversial subjects (i.e. environmental, feminist, war-based – nope.

whenever I feel tempted to show off something that I have in stock/within reach, just because I know for sure it would look good, God give me the guts to RUN. breathe, eat, sleep, give myself time. i don’t want to go to the ‘important’ stuff. i want to make my own stuff important.


drinks evening at liz’s

decembrie 30, 2007

adica surogatul meu de revelion. au fost mai putini colegi decat ma asteptam, si m-am simtit ciudat. facand abstractie de paranoia de rigoare, eram singurul om de acolo care nu a avut aproape nici un contact cu liz pana acum. incerc sa iau doar sentimentul pozitiv de aici, pentru ca liz e foarte faina. (de asemenea incerc sa scriu exclusiv in romana, ca nu cumva cineva…etc. oooops, ca nu a murit paranoia, doar un pic s-o hodinit!)

oricum, nu vor fi barfe, ci doar povesti interesante despre colegi (cine zice ca de fapt ii acelasi lucru, nu m-a ascultat niciodata cand is in totala dezlantuire si ajung la opinii/’intuitii’ despre oameni – pe care, evident, regret ulterior ca le-am expus!)

liz: a stat (7?) ani in berlin, in kreutzberg. (i-am zis de „pleasured”, si nu a citit, da a zis ca acuma nici n-ar putea sa se apuce, fiindca si romanul ei e plasat in kreuzberg)…ea e fiinta de care toata lumea asteapta sa citeasca ceva…si am impresia ca tocmai isi va da drumul. povesteam cum ma apuc eu sa scriu in statia de autobuz etc., la care ea a zis un lucru foarte destept: daca observ ca mi-a venit o idee, trebuie s-o pot lasa sa treaca, inseamna c-or sa mai vina si altele. nu ca nu am mai auzit varianta respectiva, in diverse forme….(sunt foarte obsedata zilele astea cu „letting things go”, ghiciti de ce) dar mi se pare interesanta aplicatia la scris. in rest, liz: are 32 de ani, a facut in anglia un master in greaca veche, e atat de tacuta in coltul respectiv de masa [la fiction] incat am aflat ca e lesbiana abia in mailul-invitatie in care imi spunea ca „my girlfriend suzanne will be visiting…”; deci am vazut-o si pe suzanne. ca gazda, liz e placuta si la locu ei, iti dai seama ca nu e timida deloc, ci pur si simplu nu tine sa fie pushy. (ma face sa-mi pun din nou problema cata, si ce fel de, ambitie iti trebe ca sa reusesti in domeniul nostru. liz a zis clar din septembrie ca ea a lasat o slujba ‘corporate’ foarte bine platita in berlin, si deci se asteapta sa castige si din scris, to make it big. si aflu cu surprindere ca deja a fost abordata pt Locution, si…anyway; ma intreb cate lucruri in plus mi-au mai scapat semestrul trecut doar pt ca …socul adaptarii i se spune, un pretext destul de plauzibil.)

jaclynn: prima victima a MFA-ului: a avut piciorul in ghips vro 2 luni, ca trecea strada si a cazut uitandu-se la niste fraternity boys. vorbesc serios…sau cel putin asa am dedus din cat ascultam din ce se vorbea pe vremea aia. tipul de om care e j. se descrie de obicei prin „goofy”. ii asa faina, ca nu se teme sa intrebe chestii de genul, cine e martin amis? (ei si, ce daca nu stie? ( liz il uraste pe amis, si ii place hanif kureishi. you go, girl!)). hmmmm; nu pot vorbi despre j. asa cum ar merita, si stiu, si imi trag palme pt snobismul cultural desantat, si promit sa fiu umila si sa iau aminte de la altii, care pot sa fie draguti in mod natural. eu in mod natural, i.e. fata de jaclynn, nu pot sa fiu decat european-‘modesta’, sau copilaresc-sfidatoare. sper ca in stadiul asta e OK…

grant barr nu e un om care ‘este’ intr-un fel sau altul. el e un om care: 1) STIE ( om cu BA in filosofie+ biologie, da!) si 2) FACE. niste lucruri de te lasa paf. exemplu a)  ce-i vine lui grant inainte de anu nou (acum cativa ani)- ia hai sa merg eu pana in NY in times square sa vad revelionul de-acolo. pana aici e logic, da?  ajunge grant in NY, si,  la 11,30 in ajun, pe broadway&50-smth, isi da seama ca e pur si simplu prins intr-o multime coplesitoare, care se inghesuiau si agitau „like cattle”, chiar a zis-o si el (l-as invita pana la noi cand is focuri de artificii, dragut baiat!:)), si deci n-o sa poata vedea nimic. moment in care el hotaraste sa iasa de-acolo, mimeaza un atac de astm si iese prin coridoarele politistilor, si isi da seama ca pe unde e gol poate trece, ca nime nu mai are griija lui…mere-mere pana in fata, intra la sectiunea VIP si il vede pe colin powell. no ma rog, in afara de restul festivitatilor, etc.

grant barr, exemplu b): in vara 06, merge grant in new york (again!) hotarat sa caute un mijoc de transport acvatic spre germania. buuun. si vede o corabie in port, din aia ca in filme, cu catarg si trei panze, tot tacamul. se duce sa vorbeasca cu echipajul, si deduce ca aia era a crew ce tocmai navigasera din europa in NY ca sa filmeze un documentar despre imigrantii de dupa primul razboi mondial in state (corabie datand din 1919!!). grant, care avea experienta de lucrat pe barci de pescuit in alaska (!!!) ii intreaba daca il pot lua si pe el inapoi…evident ca da. contra munca. parcurs drum: 35 de zile pana in bermuda; 8 zile de-acolo pana in?? anglia undeva, cred. cu popasuri pe la porturi europene de genul rotterdam, etc. etc.

core of the conversation at the drinks night: scenario in which „if this writing thing doesn’t work out” we’re going to become pirates in the south seas. grant se ocupa cu navigatia, noi purtam eye patches („but not necessarily on the eye”, a precizat liz), si in plus liz voia sa adopte o veverita canadiana in loc de parrot pt. statul pe umar. s-a ajuns si la alte detalii, pe care ma cutremur sa le impartasesc, de fapt mi-i prea somn.

sunt prea invidioasa pe tot ce n-am trait, asa ca merg sa rumeg aceste date, sperand sa nu-mi rumeg si dintii cu ele (e aproape 5 a.m, si am durerea de dinti care vine de la excitement/anxiety. nici macar nu am un mod precis de a testa daca ii de bine sau de rau). cheers.


my idea of love (2)

decembrie 29, 2007

I’m Really Very Fond
                            (Alice Walker)

I’m really very fond of you,
he said.

I don’t like fond.
It sounds like something
you would tell a dog.

Give me love,
or nothing.

Throw your fond into a pond,
I said.

But what I felt for him
was also warm, frisky,
moist-mouthed,
eager,
and could swim away

if forced to do so.

* e o preluare de pe blogul lui Sophie, pe care nu o cunosc, si deci nu stiu cum sa-i pun link aici; cand o sa invat, o sa fac. (= invatati-ma, va rog!!!)


autumn-winter ’07 wrap-up

decembrie 29, 2007

aislinn hunter: „The days collapse one into the other like folding chairs /and I am nowhere. Tied to the act of giving myself away.”

mike christie (my colleague – wonderful poet, wonderful prose writer): ” Ground level now with those days de-clawed, figured and reckoned and balmed with because. But the light has grown gaunt and I want for a view and to fall down the stairs of what I know and what I knew.”

miranda july: „If I was going to bring something new into my home, it would be a big starving thing.”

a l kennedy: „He was managing […] doing something he couldn’t do. Very softly and wonderfully, he began to think this ought to mean that he was being someone new.”

arthur rimbaud (in translation) : “Along the open road on winter nights, homeless, cold, and hungry, one voice gripped my frozen heart: „Weakness or strength: you exist, that is strength. You don’t know where you are going or why you are going, go in anywhere, answer anyone. No one will kill you, any more than if you were a corpse.” In the morning my eyes were so vacant and my face so dead, that the people I met may not even have seen me.”

*( help me with this?) „i have seen things, to the heart of some, and my vision has rendered me silent.”