you can never get ready for chaos

septembrie 29, 2008

(lessons from a restaurant kitchen, before lunch time)

– the fact that you have enough time on your hands does not help you get ready for chaos, just because chaos is so wildly different from having time on your hands

– the fact that you’ve been through chaos before does not help you get ready for chaos. (because every chaos is its own creature.)it should maybe help you shrug and unwind a bit, but usually doesn’t

– the fact that you know it’s going to come does not help you get ready. it may help you not run away screaming when it does come.

chaos comes, then goes. if you’re still standing, you’re alright.

when life was good

septembrie 19, 2008

terry was my classmate in playwriting last year. always nice, of course, and also watched „4,3,2” and liked it, but it’s not like we really, actually, talked. i wasn’t trying hard enough to be a playwright (or maybe it was that in that class i could see the starkest differences between people whom the genre suited, and those it didn’t). and terry’s work that i saw was an adaptation and a fragment of an idea. but it did (or i think it did) give me a feeling about what a film by him would be like. and it’s surreal that i’ll be able to go and see it in a cinema. i remember last winter when i borrowed a copy of subterrain to read meghan’s and mike’s stories published there. yes i am damn proud. and today, just seeing the cover of WE on cafe tables all along main and the drive, it felt good.

first of all, it’s a brilliant title. (no, first of all, it’s terry’s movie at TIFF, and coming to VIFF, dammit!!:)) second, i’m glad of any documentation of vancouver, of any type, that i can get. even if at points, and lora can confirm it, it may seem like vancouver-based literary pieces annoy me, they fascinate me all the same. mostly because this place seems to me so ungraspable, so i’m curious what vancouverites make of it – if its ungraspable-ness/airy-ness is a real characteristic or, obviously, it’s just me whining.

third (did i mention that today was so typical vancouver? cloudy but not cold, not raining either), walking on the drive and wondering, when WAS life good? i mean, the phrase is ironic, isn’t it? i remembered someone telling me „you have a very rich, intense interior life” – 7 years ago, of course – and how i took it for a compliment at the time; one of the small appeasements i was referring to. but today i understand it as being told to get a life – a real, exterior one, if y’all know what i mean.

…and joan didion is so alive :)

septembrie 14, 2008

this is on keeping a notebook- a personal notebook much more than a writer’s one; and it rings particularly true to me these days, when i’m weirdly nostalgic for my 21 y.o. self:

„it all comes back. perhaps it is difficult to see the value in having one’s self back in that kind of mood, but i do see it; i think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. otherwise they run up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. we forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. we forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were. i have already lost touch with a couple of people i used to be; one of them, a seventeen-year-old, presents little threat […] the other one, a twenty-three year-old, bothers me more. she was always a good deal of trouble, and i suspect she will reappear when i least want to see her, skirts too long, shy to the point of aggravation, always the injured party, full of recriminations and little hurts and stories i do not want to hear again, at once saddening me and angering me with her vulnerability and ignorance, an apparition all the more insistent for being so long banished.”

shucks, at least j.d. banished her.

david foster wallace died

septembrie 14, 2008

…before i managed to read any of his books or stories, even if i’d heard of him last autumn, because apparently people on this continent knew about him. well now he’s dead.

he’s always going to be in my mind tinged with a „too little too late” sheen of guilt on my part, me not knowing if i’m reading him out of duty now, or what. because i really would like to like him.

i remember what joel said in fiction class this spring, about a 3-page short story by d.f.w. that according to him managed to contain pretty much ‘everything’ a writer should aspire to put in a piece. that made the reader go wow. i remember the nods of my colleagues (who probably wouldn’t stop to imagine a world where someone who reads hasn’t heard of d. f. w.)

so/but, please read him if you can. i’ll read him when i’m over this funk.

planet awkward

septembrie 14, 2008

this is the title of the book lora&i are going to write – a social guide to lesbians travelling in romania and confused eastern europeans in vancouver; an idea mostly inspired by last night (we watched ‘transylvania’ with elizabeth and drank horinca) and tonight (queer readings at rhizome, featuring among other ppl michelle and shana from my class). needless to say tonight was full of lesbians. but i still have zero, well close to zero, radar for that. and i’m going to stop writing about it, because i’m tactless enough just only talking about it anyway:). it’s hard to discuss how good the readings were (they were good!), me having an obvious UBC bias, but the last reader had a ‘found poem’ called/ or rather themed „what’s your problem?”

so back to our book, lora&i are trying to roadtest it with this quiz called „what kind of a shy person are you?”, to which if any of you would offer to respond i would be delighted. and tomorrow i am apparently painting walls at someone’s place, no guarantees about what THAT project will result in.

meta 3: not out of shame, but

septembrie 13, 2008

i scrubbed my name out of the „legion finally” post. just because i knew before it was the only place i’d used my name on this blog and so it was easy access for people who’d just google me. i’m fine with anyone having found it – i just feel sort of uncomfortable every time i go to my control panel and i’m shown how many times „legion finally” was read, since i know the exact reason why. i am sorry. i never meant to give people a wink-nudge sort of clue. it’s embarrassing when one learns as one goes along. so if you’re here because you know my name, and you want to stay, welcome. if not,oh well.

7 years ago (cluj)

septembrie 11, 2008

iulia nonu came, and there wasn’t much to do, so we hung out on the steps leading to the roof. tudor  had gone, gabi had pretty much gone, deedee was working, no one knew who was going to be around much. iulia had a white sweater that i loved, one of those high necks. soft. clean.

before it started raining and i locked myself in for days, eating and reading bernard mclaverty, the grapes on the vine in the britania house were still there and ripe as i waited in the corridor some evenings, thinking that i was just doing something nice, something out of the usual.

i had my hair long and i was writing long emails. some days the only reason i had to get out of the house was to enter a net cafe and read julian barnes interviews. that semester i went to church every sunday morning, and bought bunches of chrysanthemums from the market lest i go crazy. i was still trying to get things right on my own.

mid-october, there was „A.I.”, and i saw a projected world of 50 years from now that still had the twin towers in it. the audience at ‘arta’ aaaahh-ed, it was so sad to witness this perfect lack of foresight, this confidence in emblems and in how things ought to be.

just because today is today: if i could turn back to a point in time and choose a different adventure, i’d take that autumn 2001. they say all the cells in one’s body renew over 7 years – i feel like there’s just this little time left, and then nothing in me will be the girl who ran gasping that night from ‘arta’, to complain to a friend about how unfair the world is; actually expecting instant relief.

i want time back, expectations in people, distinctions unblurred, thrills for the future. maybe i also want to not be able to predict where my next 7 years will take me.


septembrie 10, 2008

it’s a joyful relief of sorts to realize (or re-realize) that no one cares about your soul. and that you’d better work, and sell out, if you want to be doing something, cause these are the only available activities, in all their multiple forms, diverging and re-intertwining, and the alternative is doing nothing, and then you die anyway. well i’ve had it, i’ve had it with sticking to my side of the issues, with caring so much about being right. and about being liked.

you cannot represent the weak and confused while you’re still weak and confused. empathy and a good memory will serve you well only after you stop being weak and confused. right now for two minutes i’m the disparaging witch at the top of the pile of shit that life is, croaking and gaggling before i fly. but talk to me, and maybe i’ll be weak and kind and self-explanatory again. but keep talking to me, and maybe i’ll be less so.

growing up is sad, she said, standing on the edge. the water is cold, she said, touching it with one toe. then you jump in and you’re all coldness. and your coldness is fake because you’re a hot-blooded mammal, but among the forms of fake the jumping in is better. i give up. i give up for good. in real time. i don’t care, i don’t mind. forget about it. i understand.

workshop day(s)

septembrie 10, 2008

– some people are so smart it’s scary. some writing is better while you talk about it than while you read it (how??). maureen is a palahniuk fan. also a non-fiction piece („flight” by a hungarian woman (called judit :)) whose sketched autobiography is not at all dissimilar to elizabeth’s (hungarian jew, family fled the country post-56, went to montreal).

-i have bugged everyone at UBC (and SFU) who would listen with my „i can’t get to talk to my advisor” story, so i’m trying to keep a lid on it (by writing on my blog about it???:) – obviously still distressed. also, because no post is politics-free: sonja about me: „she’s having a bad day, obama’s down in the polls.”

– today, trying to jog in the morning. must be the best joke of the week! also in the joke of the week category: trying to bide my time outside of ‘home’, specifically at ‘gene’s’, which is a wonderful place, approximately 20 metres away from where i live. and having a cappucino (a gene’s cappucino) around 8 p.m, but i get a feeling i won’t be laughing at 2 a.m. tonight.

– i generally spend too much time on the drive, respectively being scratched by cats and smelled by dogs. i can’t freaking write anything. i feel like the past week was a moveable feast through almost all the potlucks and social occasions of last year: a retrospective. now i’ve got to do new stuff, i’ve got to meet new people.

– i’m so out of it that i catch myself imagining autumn ’09, with me returned to cluj and teaching at sincai. it would be easy, i know it, something like being dead when your hair and nails go on growing. the window by my desk looks on some flat rooftops and i still don’t notice when it starts raining, except on the next glance the surfaces are wet. also i was thinking one day on the bus how smart canadian doors lock themselves behind you, so if you got out and let it close, then you want to get back in, you know you need to use a key. once you’re out you need a freakin key to get back in, they don’t teach that in romania.

the second year is sour

septembrie 4, 2008

„[…]but for me they had vanished. and because of this fact – not really because of any loss of them – i was tipped into dismay more menacing than any of the little eddies of regret that had caught me in the past year. i had lost my bearings. i had to get back to the store so my clerk could go home, but i felt as if i could as easily walk another way, just any way at all. my connection was in danger – that was all. sometimes our connection is frayed, it is in danger, it seems almost lost. views and streets deny knowledge of us, the air grows thin. wouldn’t we rather have a destiny to submit to, then, something that claims us, anything, instead of such flimsy choices, arbitrary days?” (alice munro, ‘the albanian virgin’)