happy post

noiembrie 26, 2008

this post has been commissioned by john, who gave me a ride back home from the end-of-semester party about an hour ago – thankyouthankyou – and said i should have a happy entry here. so, since the following one is bound to be miserable/melodramatic, sure, why not? the very act of me sitting at my window desk a little past midnight still dressed up (facebook and rahmblr), sipping on cocoa milk (after 2 beers, and an uncountable amount of cupcakes, pie slices, donut bits, cherry candy, merengue pieces, homemade cookies, tarts and muffins eaten over the past 2 days) writing this, is meant to reassure everyone alive about my undeniable happiness. i actually came across this happy phrase to describe my autumn ’08: ‘carmen’s north-american adolescence’. just look at how everything’s turned out: school is out (i work 6 days/week), i’m planning holiday (i.e. there are more options, haha), i’m reading GOOD literature and in the mornings i’m flirting with construction workers. ‘fun times’, a canadian would say – they do say that a lot, usually as a filler. which tells you exactly how much fun the times are. so this is my happy post.

as compared to last year’s party at thea’s lounge, UBC (memory, my permanent flaw): everyone is familiar. i can probably hold drinks better. obama is president. but most of all: i know for sure i’m not going to spend my december locked up in a basement with no plans, waiting for half-strangers, yet or already, to deign me with a sign. but happiness is about the small things, symbolic dots on that background of security. i’m happy to have talked to that person, happy to have lived that night, happy to wish that. i smile on a quasi-permanent basis and use big words flippantly.

diary vs. blog

noiembrie 24, 2008

A> i recharge myself in the simplest of ways: by wasting hours, wasting days, until my need is big enough for a leap. (for an attack). also, by making and keeping secrets, where there’s nothing else. i was alone and angry and begging you not to forget me, now i’m alone and angry in a different way, and that change in tone kind of says that now i don’t wish my loneliness and anger to be anyone’s business. also, i don’t really care. (also, you have no idea).

also, i have no idea, so then why would you? (petty tit-for-tat)

B> there are times when i’m trying to say something to someone : important things, or new things that i haven’t formulated well for myself even, yet. i usually fail. but the manner in which i fail is interesting in itself, even if never – ever- a lesson anyone could benefit  from. my vancouver friends are surely right (or would be right)  in accusing me of over-complicating things. but this is my mind. so i can only shut up, before i turn this blog and everything into lame crypticisms.

i have no idea yet, so then HOW would you? how can „you” and „i” start to communicate if all i’ve got is blabber?

so after 1.5 years i have secrets again. small secrets. (the big secrets and lies are dumped behind.) the new crinkling, texturing of the plainness of my days. it feels like a young life, i can’t tell if it survives canadian soil and air. i recognize it in the old patternlets, and at the same time i don’t, because, …how?

and after a while i will speak. (we all know it.) but it occurs to me that when i speak it is a commitment. whatever the story or the lie, i have always stuck with what i have said to the end. my stories are prescriptive, and i believe it, the way  i believe in magic and in poetic justice and that i am better than you.

the art of letting go

noiembrie 19, 2008

a plate of eggs benedict plopping on my jeans. a bowl of fruit almost untouched, a diet coke opened and left there unsipped at; a plate of chili uneaten because ‘it’s too spicy’; a full bowl of cold broccoli soup, skin crinkling on top; a smoothie refused because it didn’t look like the person imagined it when they ordered it. abandoned mugs of cold milky coffee, piles of french fries in mounds of ketchup and mayo, neat folds of syruped pancake dough. smashed glasses. a platter cracked neatly in two. into the bucket, into the trash. these could be real teachable moments.

and i laugh, and i roll my eyes (esp. when i work in tandem with someone who does notice and feel the same). but it still pains me, and makes me indignant, to throw stuff away. and on it goes: the perfume bottle got broken. the dog chewed on my virginia woolf doll. T-shirts get ruined with grease stains. socks get ruined after i wear them twice inside the autumn boots. my body gets ruined with the food intake. the day gets ruined with a moody undertone right off the bat – and keeps going grey between 2 and 5, the last remains of light. time’s running out with a vengeance, and it’s down to five months.

facebook icons announce marriages, announce breakups. relationships fizzle up and down under my radar. (i’ve got no gaydar:)). i am told to seize the day, the moment. i am told i should have seized it. (i usually make a clumsy grab for it two days after, and by then it’s already slippery and untouchable, and my fingertips look gross all over it. then i have to let the fingerprints go too.) i’m not sending you to elizabeth bishop – i’m sending you to cummings:

„let it go- the/smashed word broken/open vow or/the oath cracked length/wise – let it go it/was sworn to/go//let them go – the/truthful liars and/the false fair friends/and the boths and/neithers – you must let/them go they/were born/to go//let all go – the/big small middling/tall bigger really/the biggest and all things -”


inhabitants: i was there!

noiembrie 19, 2008

for everyone who pretends they’re ‘truly’ interested in following what’s going on with me: i was right next to where the camera is in the second video. i was there and i can’t believe it. not to trivialize anything (hopefully!), but i’m tempted to attribute a murakami feel to it, an „eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” feel…it’s going to take a while, but i’ll make it fiction.

inhabitants : there is only this.

noiembrie 16, 2008

if i tried, soberly, in the daytime, etc, to talk about this week (the way i talked about last week) i’m sure some smarty-pants, light-toned post would happen. which i don’t want. i don’t want irony or mockery, because i feel here i’m tiptoeing finally around the core of what vancouver has to give me.

it’s my third night in a row when i won’t be asleep before 3. all worthwhile. let me go through a laundry list of the good small things that were the glue to my crazier times. haircut, clean the room, do laundry (literally:)), get the bike, freakin’ buy the adaptor for my mac. (that’s it?? i guess so…yes, and managing to not get fired although i keep showing up in the mornings in a pretty sorry state.)

tuesday, rememberance day: the memory festival. i thought it was one of the coldest days of the year. i’m not going to start detailing the talks: but i was in a hotel downtown, in a darkish conference room where i knew no one. a guy played a tape put together out of his mother’s post-it notes stuck on her motel room walls while her alzheimer was thriving. with a music background; in two voices. i can still remember what the chorus pattern sounded like. i’ve got that.

dozing on the bus around 6 when i get back from campus, i have to recognize the main street stop in the dark. these days for the first time i notice, high up on a building, the black plaque right before the crossing. it quotes thomas berlin, in smallish white letters. i think it says: there is no justice. there is only me. there is only you. there is only this. (* update: i checked: „there is no justice. JUST me. JUST you. JUST this”. never believe me when i quote by ear, i’ll get the gist maybe, but never the words.)

i have to thank everyone who kindly signals to me that they are reading my blog. because we know i am not really writing this for myself: not to record – not to discover. there were, and are, a lot of birthdays going this month as well. i do remember each and all of you. (taking the corner, on the other side of the building on main: „there is no loneliness. there is only this.”

thursday and friday, reading events at carnegie hall, and locution@ pulp fiction, and at blenz. i felt lucky to just know there would be all those people there, that i care about. to be able to get on the 3 downtown and smile: as easy as pushing a button and getting the expected result. something that works. the jamboree was unexpectedly interesting, and the locution was standard good, and then we were at the legion, and i talked too much again, but it wasn’t bad. it was not. on friday i read at carnegie, then i read at blenz, then i went for drinks with the sonja posse, then i ended up having „tea” with lora after midnight at hers. (we actually ended up having no tea: other stuff, but no tea. (i’m told lora read my „capsize point” poem today at the writer’s studion end-of-year party, which makes me feel a bit cocky. a bit. am i allowed a bit, dammit?!)

since we came to gloating. i’m going to have to start learning how to gloat. look: something i wanted happens, right? why – should- i -not-feel-damn-good???? leave me the moment. there is only this. i also want to take this opportunity and repeat that rahm emanuel is very cool, EVEN IF thousands of silly democrat women say so.

so it’s down to tonight, the concert. inhabitants is the name of the band. the place is 1067 granville, where i did the door back in january when i first met elizabeth. funny how it all coils back now: the fish tank poem, this place. music. the writing. the dark. the way i realized, taking a walk at night 2 or 3 days ago, that „walking after midnight” does make perfect sense. i’m thinking how long it will take from now on to write stories actually located here. (during work, the silliest sunny memories come to my mind, washing up on this moment’s shore: an afternoon in mangalia when my parents took me to a pizza place – they didn’t really have pizza places back then – with a view to the sea; the august morning in istvan square, when giulia and i were looking for…an exchange? matt’s hat that he had in prague. a photo of a dog i didn’t know, about which i assumed too much. they are memories from the same shelf. as soon as i can tell what connects them. and they are brought back with the music tonight.) the music is like rain patter on flat roofs. like the shuffle of people on DTES buses at night. it lulls you in waves, and booms and crashes the moment. (apparently , there was „a moment” tonight.)

but no justice. but hell, no loneliness either.

transitioning: obamarahma

noiembrie 9, 2008

ok, but it could have been over. i could have been in the position of those obamazombies ‘the onion’ talks about (harder to do with a semi-job+writing to do, but yeah). who rediscover the emptiness of their lives now that the campaign’s done. look how obama’s brilliance saved me from that!

(paranthesis: you know those dickish boyfriends who keep a girl hanging on? sure you do. whenever she -hysterically or not- threatens to go, the douche will do a half-assed nice gesture. not more than is necessary. by which i’m NOT implying anything about obama, of course, but everything about the perversity of life. esp. for obsessives.)

i have 2 words for you guys: rahm emanuel.

the new (‘designated’) white house chieff of staff. i’d learned about him before, a little, during the primaries, but didn’t stop then because i was still reading about barack a lot, and the race was on. well, on wednesday, it was rahm emanuel time. honestly if i hadn’t thought the guy looks absolutely hot, who would have bothered to check all the articles ever published about him 🙂 on the internets? really now. (also, this is the most unfortunate way to prove to myself again that whatever interest i have in obama is not really, wholly, a ‘crush’. ! 😦 )

but whatever. the administration of The Cool. emanuel’s story is truly fascinating, i mean even if he was old and disgusting. (* way better than the fiction books i’ve been reading lately, and i guess i should consider as mitigating circumstances that a) ondaatje annoyed me immensely; b) i’m getting interested in anecdotics etc, and the emanuels are all divas) it’s going to be one hell of a white house, if it starts like this. at least look up a good photo of him on huffpost, current page…of course part of me would like to assure everyone of the complexities of my sudden admiration, by sending you to read long articles, interviews etc. in chicago tribune and wsj etc. to see what i mean. the realistic part sighs and gives it up. but no shrug. i will never shrug about rahm emanuel:).

climax of my year 2: yes. we. did.

noiembrie 9, 2008

this week. tuesday, november 4.

versus the rest of the week, and the year.

it’s not change. change is not like that. i don’t feel more triumphant these days. maybe i feel nicer: because since wednesday morning i’ve probably smiled non-stop at work, my cheeks hurt, plastered in a rictus. sometimes it goes down cause i’m tired, but reappears in the instant of interaction: i thank everyone for everything. i get teased and complimented on my smile. but there is not an abruptness to it, as in yesterday i was sad today i’m happy. i’m probably not even happier: i „knew” we were going to win before, right? and obama is still guarded by the secret service and basically under threat non-stop, right? and victories fizzle out, and ok, maybe this is a short honeymoon but we all know what happens to honeymoons.

i’m not sure if people (and which people) expect an account from me on what i did and felt on that night, the cnn projections, the crowds. it’s simple: i don’t know what i felt. it was good because i could scream. i screamed a lot. in the yaletown brewery i positioned myself at the bar, under the screen, in a completely full room. in non-fiction i spent the last hour of the course with nadia’s laptop on my knees, after kinda announcing i wouldn’t be participating in the workshop. i let loose, and it was good while it lasted. but i was noticing myself doing what i assumed was expected of me. i noticed myself gasping, facebooking people from the bar, jumping sites to check maps, yelling stuff about senate races, talking to americans, hugging the only kenyan in yaletown (who, of course, was tearing up) but it was ok, because. we were winning. why not?

my voice almost went, and it was raining. after 4 beers, on the skytrain, the science world lights swung by dangerously close, and i was alone. who is the ‘we’ in yes we can, yes we did? downtown vancouver knew there was a president-elect obama, and they kept on their way to clubs, they kept walking in groups, soberly, chattering lightly. no one outside of yaletown jumped up or embraced someone next to them. and when i asked for directions, with my delirious eyes, and my smile, they didn’t even smile back. i wanted to put my tongue out at them, or take a stick and beat them. i knew in DC people were shouting at the white house gates, i knew in grant park they were trying to prolong the moment, later i saw youtubes of dancing in the streets in seattle. running on commercial in the rain, to sonja’s, i wanted to be in the US. (*not then: in general. it’s the US that i want – in the good moments and the bad). then a guy selling books under an arcade (at 11 :)), and i couldn’t help myself and asked. „you know obama won?” and he said yes, and nooded at me smiling, finally. a group was coming down and they cheered and gave me a high-five. further – empty. a girl on a bike passed by and looked at me and mouthed ‘obaaamaa’, but lightly, almost a whisper. i entered, and sonja poured me champagne.

i woke up smiling every day since. my boss gave me hot oatmeal to repair my voice. i smiled collecting newspapers from tables, folding them with the first family picture neatly on top. i thought about it long – the moment of the speech – and discovered i hadn’t cried. at all. lots of people cried for joy: apparently i only cry for sorrow. (cecilia, the boss’s wife, looked at one of the huge pictures, and what she had to say was, „poor guy, his grandma died”.) i see obama’s face, tired and deeply lined, his posture the moments before he spoke. somehow it makes it harder in retrospect to see what the cheering or the crying was for. the guy freakin’ just got himself a job. (and no, i’m not cynical. i’m trying to be…nuanced?…)

whatever. my point is that i understand elation, but when it lasts more than a few minutes it’s harder to understand. so i feel good. we’re better positioned for the US to get well under an obama administration. (again, what am i doing in the ‘we’??) and tuesday night was not the purpose for me. i’m still in it. for the serious and non-serious reasons. mumbling „president-elect obama” from time to time, tasting it like soft icecream. reading about the first presser, the cabinet, looking forward to jan 20 and beyond. it’s the only way i can adopt a country, apparently. by being a freak about that country, while i’m someplace else. (and yes it’s all my illusion & wishful thinking, thank you very much.)

but from now on it will be harder for me. silenter. i can’t expect any canadian, hell, any american, to keep up with these things as much as i’ll keep keeping up. i understand that the election caused interest (though, i mean, ‘canadian enthusiasm’ is after all an oxymoron), and that is over now. nevertheless. („yes we did” sounds way sadder than „yes we can”). but yes, we still can. it’s a fine beginning my friends.

climax of my year 1: kill ana

noiembrie 9, 2008

this week. monday, nov. 3. not kill her for good, but kill 30% of her, you know which: the too-obsessive, the repetitive, the overlapping, the monotonous. this is a novel. it IS a novel. but now you have to hone it, i’m told. a book (maybe i am not told this, but am suggested it) is not a recording, but a suggesting of stuff. and since it’s a 3rd person, multiperspective, you’ve already given up staying with ana 50%. i’m not even sure, steven says, that this is ana’s story. this is five people’s story, and they have to tell the story together.

this is my story. i have to kill ana. not for good, but 30% of her – the bad part. you know which. i know ana is likeable, steven tells me, and you know how i know? because those other people want to hang out with her. so there’s no other way for carmen now (nov. 2008) but to like ana, therefore to change ana, change herself. otherwise the novel will not be…will probably not be. so it’s down to „own your power”.

but i see it as a kill.

obviously i see it as a kill. but now i know i’m going to do it.

lantern day

noiembrie 3, 2008

it was sunny almost all day – apparently there was a short tough rain, but i must’ve been in all through it. you know the hard brightness (there are no other words) of the sun when it comes in november for a few minutes, over the brightness of the leaves and the low dark sky. so i ate my lunch chili outside, and right now there are pieces of 2 (two) stories playing in my head, which is nice enough as long as i don’t have deadlines, and i slept 8 hrs. last night, and we’re going to win the elections etc etc etc. i also wonder if my sudden impulse to write ‘real’ letters is just a provision for the post-election boredom…maybe. but first i’ll have to set down all the separate pieces about the hallowe’en ‘odd ball’ (wonderful costumes! fun night) and tonight, and the songs in between and even the rainy days, like, right now it’s raining but who cares? the daylight saving’s done, there are books and days to come.

i know i’m rambling. i’m just back from elena’s lantern party. i’d never made a lantern before, and tonight i made 1.5, approx.  y’all know i’m not really crafty, and since the other girls treated the lamps as not merely the pretext for the party, ahem – well, i tried to keep up. it’s not half bad, pretty colorful, has a RE on it and lukas’ name kinda stamped small to one side. and then i did an obama logo 🙂 on another jar, which actually looks fantastic, if i say so myself. then we went out (i hope there’ll be pictures soon) and walked in the dark (of 8 p.m. : as of today, it gets dark at 5.30) and into crescent park, with all 8 lanterns lit and julia o. was singing german lantern songs:). then we set them all in a circle and danced and jumped and sounded harmonies (well, sorta) around them, which was probably the craziest thing i was part of since i came here. also, it felt amazing – it did feel as if now something’s going to happen, and it’s going to turn right – and if it was only this moment, it’s still worth alot. though we were obviously looking into the future, carrying out lamps through the november rain. yes.