dreaminghope: (Starry Starry Night)
If God exists in the spaces between...

... mind the gap.
dreaminghope: (Starry Starry Night)
No matter how much I scrimp and economize, I never seem to save. I budget and plan, but no matter how much I save by doing things the most efficient way, I never seem to have extra time when I want it.

I want to bank time; earn some interest on it. I feel safe with something extra in the bank, just in case.

I want to hoard time. I want to tuck minutes away in a box under my bed. I want to collect minutes until I have hours, and hours until I have days. I'd even hoard seconds, each one tiny and precious. I want to be able to take them out of their box and admire them. Minutes like shining jewels, to take up by the handful and let them slip back through my fingers. I wouldn't spend them; just keep them... just in case.

There would come a day when someone would be looking for a pen, and they would find in the desk drawer a stash of shining bits of time. And they would find another stash under the scrap paper, and more in the bedside table, and maybe some in an old spice jar in the back of the kitchen cupboard. And I would never have to worry about running out of time again.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
"Authors are people who never grew out of their imaginary friends." – Andrew Davidson
"Please don't tell me they're imaginary." – Tristan Hughes*

My childhood imaginary friend didn't encourage me to steal cookies. She didn't colour outside of the lines or pull my sister's hair. She never took me on a grand adventure.

My imaginary friend told me to brush my teeth and that I shouldn't read after my bedtime by the street lamp outside my bedroom window. I ignored her on the latter point, but I still have very good teeth.

*Flights of Fantasy, Vancouver International Writers Festival, 2008
dreaminghope: (Faerie Wings)
In a dream, the ground drops slowly away and you float into the sky, or you launch yourself into the air powerfully, and you glide and soar through the air, and maybe your clothes flap around you or maybe you're naked, and maybe you fly like Superman or flap angel's wings or swim like a fish through the clear air and misty clouds, and it isn't like a trampoline or like the brief flight off the height of a swing's arc because there's no pull down, down to the earth, down to reality, down to the sore feet and the heaviness, and there's flight without fall, and freedom without consequence, and how do we know how to fly anyway?
dreaminghope: (Default)
In the morning, as I rinse my coffee mug, I see a chickadee on my back porch. Russ and I have seen him there before. He is almost completely round – a little feathered ball with a beak – so I'm not how he can fly at all, much less take off fast enough to escape the neighbourhood's feral cats. He pecks about, probably eating the crumbs from my breakfast. When I next go to the window, he is gone.

If I'd thought that I had any aptitude as an artist, I don't think I'd ever have become a writer. All I ever wanted to capture was moments. The trouble is, most people want narrative, so I tuck those moments away in the pages of a story. If I could draw or paint the way I see those moments in my head, I wouldn't have to write about them.*

As I walk along the street, a bald eagle soars over my head, disappearing just over the top of the two-story warehouse behind me. The cars speeding past me had no idea why I stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk and turn slowly to follow that eagle with eyes and wish. They may not even see me stop.

The cars also don't see the raccoon. A juvenile by his size, he looks like he has fallen out of a natural history museum display – he is frozen in position, no sign of trauma, as though he was walking along the sidewalk and then simply fell over dead. I saw him in the morning on my way to the gym. On my way home from the gym, someone had covered his face with a piece of paper.

My back deck is high and I can see over all the fences for houses around. The elderly Chinese woman next door has five items drying on plastic hangers scattered about her garden. She doesn't notice me lingering over a glass of wine when she takes them in.

Two fences over to the West, a man is building something. Something that involves a sheet of plywood as big as his porch. Something that involves frequent re-measuring and a lot of standing back and looking. He doesn't seem to have any power tools, and I don't think he is very accustomed to hand tools. The saw scriches through the wood three times, then he pauses to check that he is cutting straight. Scrich-scrich-scrich – pause. Scrich-scrich-scrich – pause. Then he moves on to hammering: bang-bang-bang – pause. Bang-bang-bang – pause. For all that he is close to twice my age, quite a bit larger than I, and male – he reminds me of myself.

Across the alley, someone seems to be rehearsing some sort of stringed instrument. The music drifts through their open window; it sounds like a higher pitched banjo. The melody wanders from song to song, pausing but never stopping.

As the sun begins to dip below the roofs, the house two yards to the East hums with an electric lawn mower – the first grass cutting of the season. I don't know how he justifies using an electric mower for his little strip of grass; it must be more work to pull out the mower and deal with the cord – he holds it high over his head most of the time – than it would be to use a little gas weedwacker or a manual mower.

At about five in the evening, the crows stop in East Van on their daily commute from Stanley Park to the suburban park where they roost at night. The electric lines are full of black wings and the air is full of their excited cries. They seem to be telling stories; I bet they know the best stories.

*Charles de Lint, "The Fields Beyond the Fields", Triskell Tales.
dreaminghope: (Starry Starry Night)
One day there will be a religion whose principle tenet is that the whole universe only exists while God is watching it. As an extension of this premise, it will come to be understood that bad things happen because God can be distracted.

Theories will abound as to what might distract God, including anger, love, prayer, large groups of emotional people, invocation of His name, power, and fame. The faithful will attempt to do as little as possible to draw God's attention to themselves, for to do otherwise would risk His focus being turned away from the balance of the universe and the very existence of reality.

True proponents of the faith will live quiet, unassuming lives. Sleep is seen as the ultimate act of devotion.

This religion won't go far. The ideal to do as little as possible extends to spreading the word.

And if God can be diverted by mere humans from His sacred task, He won't even notice the handful fewer distractions amongst the teeming billions.
dreaminghope: (Default)
Has anyone seen my orgasm?

Quite possibly too much information – siblings should not proceed )

I just hate to leave it wandering around by itself.
dreaminghope: (Quiet Gargoyle)
We're having a perfect autumn day. I walked to Main Street and went to an organic and fair trade café where the man behind the counter taste-tested the almond syrup before making my drink. He made my latté backwards – pulled the shots before steaming the milk – but it still tasted lovely. And he poured the milk so that the foam made a swirled heart on top. I drank the heart before putting my travel mug's lid on.

I sit outside of the café at a little ironwork table. I want to write – there's a certain mysticism to The Café as a place to write (or program) – but I end up just reading in the sun.

When I resume my walk, I pull my paisley hat down firmly against the fall breeze. When I get to the corner, I don't start walking at the light but wait until the bus comes to a complete stop. Buses in Vancouver often run red lights, and there'd be something just too silly about someone as bohemian-looking as I – paisley hat, tie-died dress, hemp shoes, naturally worn (out) jean jacket – being killed by public transportation.

There's no one out behind the Ivanhoe yet. I guess anyone drinking at noon on a Friday doesn't want to be out in the golden sun, even for a smoke. It isn't a place for business lunches.

A block down, at the next corner, there's a slick faux-brick condo building, six floors high. The top floor has a larger balcony with a wide cement wall for a railing. Someone has placed a gargoyle on the corner of the rail, overlooking the corner of Main and Prior. He is very easy to spot, but only if you look up; most people don't.

I sit on a short cement wall across the street, where the gargoyle can see me, and that's where I write.

I think about what the gargoyle can see. He can see the daily parade of buses and cars up and down Main Street. He can see the old Italian immigrants heading into the European Deli Warehouse – the import business and warehouse that almost burned down in the rash of arsons in the summer of 2006 – and leaving with their fancy cheeses and French sodas. He can see the sign that says "Welcome to Historic Chinatown" and the graffiti that offers the cryptic comment "I have never been out of love with the mall".

And the gargoyle can see the people who shoot up and who sleep under the underpass across the street. It must be frustrating to be a gargoyle – see it all, and never be able to do anything. It isn't demons we need protecting from anymore, but that's all he knows how to do.

I think about going into the deli warehouse, but entering a dark maze of rooms doesn't appeal, and we have a lot of cheese at home already.

I go home and read science fiction in the sun on my back porch while drinking a glass of red wine, and feel so decadent that it's like there could never be any despair in this beautiful city.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
The streets and sidewalks are covered in cherry blossom petals, like there was a secret parade last night that no one swept up after.

A flock of bike riders play leap-frog with the bus. Every time the bus pulls into a stop, the bikes fly past on the left hand side – about a dozen blue jays, cardinals, canaries – chirping in the sharp voices of bicycle bells. They swoop back to the right, towards the sidewalk. Moments later, the bus driver gives a playful tap on the horn as she passes them again.

Old clichés and over-stretched metaphors are a little more forgivable in the Spring. Even a little madness is acceptable. The poet writes the image; the madman believes the image. The cyclists are birds and the petals are confetti, and I'll be both poet and madman tonight.
dreaminghope: (Waterbaby)
I want to live in the kind of world where the more pathetic-looking the business, the better it actually is. I want there to be restaurants that look grubby and sad, but have magically fantastic food. And I want to find such a place; I want to know about the secret treasure, and I will only take my favourite people there so I can see their faces when they first see it and then again when they take their first bite.

In my quest to find these secret places that simply must exist in order for there to still be wonder and mystery in the world, last night I ate at a place so small it didn't even deserve to have a full name, but was just called M & A Café.

The only reason I even noticed that M & A existed was because I was hungry when I walked right past it. The one grubby window had a neon "open" sign and a take-out menu of Chinese food stuck to it. They have one of my favourite dishes – mushroom egg foo yung – so in I went.

The restaurant was empty except for a couple who definitely worked there, and quite likely owned it too. It had about ten tables; they looked like they were from an old diner. Most of them had matching booth benches, but a few had dining room chairs that looked like they were taken from some much classier restaurant – one with sophisticated black furnishing, deep red carpets, and starched table clothes – when it closed down or was redecorated.

After they served me a coffee mug of green tea, they made my dinner. My egg foo yung came on a plate that looked like it was from a Canadian kitchen, circa 1950. The rice came in a more traditional rice bowl.

While I was eating my dinner, the couple were having theirs at the table nearest the kitchen. I couldn't subtly tell what they were eating, so the house specialty is still a mystery to me.

The place definitely had the run-down look that could be the rough around the diamond. Now, the moment of truth: trying the food. The food was... good. Not spectacular or magical, but fresh and hot and plentiful. It had big chunks of mushrooms that had never seen a can. It also re-heated well for my lunch today.

So, the search for my own secret treasure continues, but the experiment was pretty tasty, really filling, and didn't give me food poisoning. Let's call that success, of a sort.
dreaminghope: (Squinty Puck)
I try to read my future in the spill of elastic bands and paper clips across my desk. All it says is "you will keep working", which I already know.

So I settle for telling the fortunes of my paper clips:

"In your future, I see that you'll be holding together a bundle of papers for the accountant."

"I see you going to the bank with Monday's cheques."

"Don't worry, you'll be used again soon," as I return a shiny clip back to the box of its brethren.

It's Sunday, and I'm training the new girl. She's going to be great, as soon as we get in some practice. I didn't realize how complicated my job was until I started trying to teach it to someone else. I’m worn out from thinking about what I usually just do.

I restrain myself from telling her what colour of pen to use and to use semi-colons instead of dashes. There's enough for her to remember without my neurotic need to always use the same colour of highlighter for the same task.

I also don't tell her that the paper clips like it when you talk to them.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)


We carved pumpkins last night: four small ones, now sitting along the top of our fence, and one large one, on our front stoop.



My job was to pick the seeds out from the huge bowl of pumpkin guts, so we can roast them. I love roasted and salted pumpkin seeds. I even roasted acorn squash seeds once, because I didn't have a pumpkin.

Five pumpkins mean a lot of pumpkin seeds. The pile is more then an inch deep in our large colander. I had a "no seed left behind" policy when separating seeds from pulp.



I need to rescue all the pumpkin seeds. I go through every wet and stringy blob, seeking out even the smallest seeds.

I don't have obsessive-compulsive disorder; I have a story.

The seeds want to be roasted and eaten. They don't want to go to waste. I assure them that I will find each and every one of them.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
My mini-kitty (Zoey) likes to sleep in a cardboard box that we keep on our kitchen floor for our paper recycling. She prefers it to every perfectly soft and cozy location in the house. She'll sleep in it regardless of what's in it; apparently flattened tea boxes, flyers, and old grocery lists make for a nice bed. Our larger cat, Puck, has tried to sleep in it too, but he is twice Zoey’s size and doesn't fit.

Since Zoey spends a couple of hours a day in the recycling box, she sheds in it, and the fur collects in the corners and along the inside edges.

I took the recycling out today. I shook the empty box out, but only the few loose hairs came out. So I dug the rest of the fur out from the cracks and seams and let the clumps drift away on the breeze.

"Some bird will love using this fur to line its nest," I said to myself.

A nearby bird looked at me quizzically as if to ask the very reasonable question: "What kind of bird would want to nest in its predator’s fur?"

"Ah, silly little bird, you must be new to the big city! There are some rough birds in this urban jungle. They don't just make their home out of their enemies' cast-off fur. Ah no! They also hang out 'round the East End bars, breathing in the second hand smoke of all kinds of smokables and drinking the spilt alcohol indiscriminately. They don't get up at dawn – too hung over – and they are too cool to hunt for themselves. They bully their worms out of the early birds, the geeks of the bird kingdom. They're tough.

"I tell ya, my bird friend, they run – well, they fly, and the squirrels run – with the local squirrels, trading gossip for black market goods.* They taunt the local predators from their booty-lined nests. You can tell who's in the bird gangs by their caterpillar-leather jackets and the worm-skin boots.

"You'd be better to avoid getting in their way, little country bird. You seem sweet. If you don't want any of my kitten's fur because it reminds you of predators, you are too gentle for these birds. They're tough."

*Strathcona squirrels are thieves and thugs, much like the UBC squirrels, but a little smaller, but they are not very bright. They do like their gossip, though, and birds know all the best dirt.
dreaminghope: ("I hate everything")
Doing for writing what America's Next Top Model did for modeling, what So You Think You Can Dance? did for dance, and what The Bachelor did for romance: America's Next Great Novelist!

Thirteen sexy, struggling young writers live together in an isolated cabin for three months, filmed 24 hours a day as they struggle with writers' block, distractions, purple prose, constructive criticism, and deadlines. Under the influence of sleep deprivation and stress, and excessive amounts of coffee, they laugh, cry, fight and have nervous break-downs. They make new friends and break each other's hearts.

Every week, the eager contestants experience new activities, face fears, and do things they never dreamed of. Watch them go bungee jumping, eat meal worms, or do amateur night at a comedy club! They use these experiences to inspire their weekly writing assignments.

At the end of each week, guest actors – such as Thomas Haden Church (Ned and Stacey), Wayne Knight (Seinfeld), and Heather Graham (Boogie Nights) – will offer dramatic readings of the writers' assignments for the judging panel of book reviewers.

The judges will subject their two least favourite writers of the week to an additional test: the two will have one hour to choose and edit a piece of their ongoing novel in preparation for the panel's scrutiny. The one with the weakest novel will be sent home, so the stakes are high.

In addition to watching your favourite authors on the weekly episodes, you can also visit our website to read their profiles and see their pictures, as well as view exclusive additional video, too hot and controversial for TV! Then, talk back in the forums, where you can talk back about the best and the worst writers of the week.

Follow these aspiring writers from the start of their dream to the moment when one of them will be presented with a major publishing contract and will become America's Next Great Novelist!

Sushi story

Apr. 8th, 2006 08:13 pm
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
I walk past the bus depot today on my way to the art supply store and see a sign in the window: "Sushi". Sushi at the bus station – a very Vancouver thing to have.

After purchasing some small indulgences at the store, I pass by the bus station again on my way home. I enter impulsively. From the outside of the bus station, the mysterious sushi sign was in the far right window of the large building and I enter the building through the doors at the center – I can't see the restaurant upon entering the station. I begin to follow the signs that indicate, through pictographs, the way to food.

Sushi at the bus station. I imagine a humble little restaurant, with only a bar and a couple of tiny tables with uncomfortable chairs. In my mind, it is clean, but plain. One sushi chef, the owner, works behind the bar, and his wife handles the money and serves tea in Styrofoam cups. I imagine that it is a place of the most delicious, fresh sushi, served simply but attractively. They have regulars, who don't share this secret treasure with many people for fear that it would become too busy and that prices would skyrocket. Their other customers are the lucky ones who get off the bus hungry or who need a quick bite to eat before they depart.

Sushi at the bus station. I guess it is more likely to be a little storefront selling prepackaged sushi of uncertain age or origin. Perhaps it makes someone sick once in a while, when they eat it right before a swaying bus ride. More likely, it is just rubbery and bland.

I don't turn the corner of the bus station to see the sushi restaurant. I don't want to know whether something precious or something mediocre lies that way – I like the not-knowing better. Instead, I turn into a magazine store and buy a fat Saturday paper that I won't read until tomorrow, then I leave the bus station for home.

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