Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The trees have burst chartreuse and spring has finally come to Montreal. Thought I would share a few looks I came across in a Holt's Spring catalogue. I can't afford anything, but they're good for reference and inspiration [click images for larger version].

Shed those winter layers!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The place we fall to alone

I can barely read more than two poems. There is too much
to process. Worlds of ideas in created unspoken spaces.
I cannot linger long enough, knowing
I could breathe in beauty, truth, the question
and have breath enough.

*Inspired by the experience of reading Anne Michael's poem "Rain Makes Its Own Night" three times on the 535, headed to work, and not being able to read anything else for the rest of the ride. And here it is:

Rain makes its own night, long mornings with the lamps left on.
Lean beach grass sticks to the floor near your shoes,
last summer's pollen rises from damp metal screens.

This is order, this clutter that fills clearings between us,
clothes clinging to chairs, your shoes in a muddy grip.

The hard rain smells like it comes from the earth.
The human light in our windows, the orange stillness
of rooms seen from outside. The place we fall to alone,
falling to sleep. Surrounded by a forest's green assurance,
the iron gauze of sky and sea,
while night, the rain, pulls itself down through the trees.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How we love

There is mystery in how we love,
but not in why.
Like forgiveness, love is practical.

-Anne Michaels, "Pushed into the Dark"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Importance of Ritual.

Namaste starts my every morning. It doesn't come quite at the beginning, but somewhere near the start, after many conscious deep breaths and some yoga. Having this ritual keeps me grounded, solid, strong.

The beginning does, after all, set the rest of the day into motion. Even if you get up on the wrong side of the bed, perhaps a ritual could correct the course.

I like to write emails to dear ones in the morning when my mind is fresh and the cogs begin to whir happily at the thought of a friend.

I often eat the same thing every morning, some cereal and a piece of fruit and perhaps a glass of water.

I'm also a morning shower person.

Generally I am a morning person. Even on weekends I get up around 7 or 8.

In falling into a routine, you can worry about other things, instead of trying to start that proverbial motor of the mind, revving the motor to start.

I am not the first to discover the morning routine, Daily Routines showcases the routines of many writers, artists and other interesting people do in getting their craft started.

Today, I was particularly energized by my routine. And Namaste stuck with me. In Sanskrit, this salutation means 'the divine in me recognizes the divine in you'. For some reason this phrase has a wondrous beauty to me, leveling judgment and seeing that in everybody that ties us all together. A simple acknowledgment of the marvel which is the human being. So today, on the bus, I tried to connect with others, not outwardly, but by quieting the monologue of judgment and thought and changing the course of how I personally related to others. And I smiled a little more.

How happy I am that after a little time, I've come to realize the weight and profundity of that strange little word that punctuates my every morning.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Worst Face Forward, Traveling the World

This has been my face for the past 5 years. Frozen at 18 years old, I traveled the world for the next few years, finishing off puberty (my face elongating) and switching hairstyles (my hair lengthening). Since that photo was taken, if I'm not mistaken, the Canadian government has required that the expression in the Canadian passport photo should not be smiling or happy, but neutral. Apparently a smile changes your facial structure.

Regardless of whatever the smile does to your face, one thing is certain, passport photos are invariably the worst portraits ever. And, of course, on the eve of the expiration of my passport, and on the day I planned to take my photo (the day before heading to the passport office), I had the flu. Great. Another fabulous photo, here we come.

I had taken a photo in September (before I set my hair on fire), stepping into a timewarp of a photo studio complete with an ancient Hungarian photographer, wedding portraits from the 70s and a fridge full of polaroid film. Another atrocious photo.

Maybe it's just an unspoken rule, ID photos of any sort can just not be pleasant. The unforgiving lighting, the subprime conditions, the blank stare.

Whatever they are, with a little bit of time, they sure are funny...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Taking Flight

This past weekend I ventured down to DC for the weekend to visit very dear friends and former roommates and while the weekend was cathartic, loving my time just hanging out, existing in that comfortable space of friendship, unfettered, relaxed, smiling.

On my way home, as on my way there, I took flight in an Embraer jet. For some reason, flying in this type of plane made me more aware of the plane's orientation to the horizon and every jerk of the plane on gusts of air. A squeeze to my heart every time. I'm not usually a nervous flier... but I went with it. Still I felt delicate coming off the plane, occupying a strange emotional and frail space of sensation. And it made me think...

Flying really is an incredible thing. Here you are, a human being, flying up at 29,000 feet. In the air. Going who knows how fast towards distant destinations. Really quite incredible. It should only be natural that you are launched into an ephemeral and delicate space of sensation.

Thus, I relished it. Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rhythm and Pace

Lately I feel a need for trajectory, motion and instant results. I write and read best when I am in a moving vehicle. Thoughts spring to life when I walk. I thrive photographically when I travel. This speed and instant-aneity (yea I'm making up words) that I crave got me thinking about the general pace of the rest of the world. If anything, at this 100th anniversary of the Futurist Manifesto (technically written published Feb. 20 1909), our world is only pressing further down on the accelerator as time passes. Businesspeople and commonfolk alike are attached to their cellphones and Blackberries and are not only changing their status, posting photos and writing notes on Facebook but they are also more instantaneously updating their 140-character status on Twitter. In this age of the supercaffeinated (whether coffee, espresso, RedBull or another energy drink) and the hyperconnected, are we really connected to anything?

While I appreciate Facebook and, to a much lesser extent, Twitter, (the benefits of which I'll expound upon later) I find myself wanting instantaneous results outside the electronic sphere. At times, I want a career that brings immediate results, that works at a high pace. But I stop, if only for a moment, and wonder if those types of quickly manufactured, instinctually created products are truly worthwhile.

If I really stop and think, I realize that this blurted-out desire doesn't have much foundation. I worked on my thesis for an entire year, there were smaller 'instantaneous' steps along the way, but the project on the whole required time and thought and space and silence to mature. I've worked on two Let's Go Travel Guides over about 6 months. Updating took time, and tasks were always available on a week-to-week basis. One needed to be able to work out the tasks day-to-day but also step back and see where the whole project was going. I do yoga and meditation daily. If I thought about enlightenment every day and how I wasn't getting there, it would be pointless. There is a certain trust in the process, in the journey. One step at a time. The same is also true for creating great works of art or writing or for building solid relationships.

Perhaps, in my youth (I am SO a 35-year-old in a 23-year-old's body), there is a certain restlessness and frenetic energy bouncing off the walls of my brain. But maybe the online community isn't helping that fact. The Internet, Facebook and other social networking tools have been a really great instruments in staying connected and fortifying real relationships. You've got to be careful however, if you get stuck online with a network of 'friends', meeting people in various Internet places, without having a foot outside in reality, your online connections won't count for anything.

Online communities are really great if they fortify connections in reality. Emails can be great for keeping in touch with friends. Facebook can offer a world of photos and personal information. And the Internet can be a limitless resource for information about local events. Ultimately, though, it leads back to real life. One still needs to master social graces and the art of conversation. Sharing information is all well in good, if you can remember what you're posting and process the information yourself to share it again in real life. In this Wikipedia generation, the CBC reported yesterday, students are less prepared than ever to enter university. Instead of speeding up and losing sight, we should be aware of how we use the Internet and fortify our actual human relationships.

Even as I finish writing this post I find my mind is calmer. The urgent need to spill the thoughts racing around my mind has ebbed. I've trusted this process of getting words out, one needs to take the time to choose carefully, to express, to signify. I, thus, find myself ready to take things one step at a time and live life from one moment to the next.