Friday, May 30, 2014


Like Emily, I've spent the past day and a half struggling against my own incapacitated state. Wednesday afternoon, heading home, needing supper right now, I crashed my bike. It's so odd to find oneself crying in a parking lot, a grown adult and it doesn't make a difference. I scraped and bruised my hand badly enough that I've missed two days of work in the cafe--largely two days of work in general, since my hand is swollen, raw, weeping, and swathed in strips of tea towel. I've been able to do very little except read. I'm nearly through Independent People.

Since I was going to be in bed anyway, yesterday seemed like an excellent fast day. I've resumed the intermittent fasting experiment I began two summers ago, combining it with lifting, cycling, mindfulness, L-theanine, and research on stress to try and make further progress on some of the mind/body health issues I've been aware of for some time. The goal is always the same: to be healthy, sane, happy. And wasn't it a severe blood sugar crash that made me unable to keep my balance? Among other things, regular small fasts can help the body learn to self-regulate blood sugar levels. So fasting and resting and nursing my wounds seemed like a good itinerary. But I was miserable all day: exhausted, cold, irritable, unable to concentrate. There was a mountain of work I had to do and I was either unable or unwilling to do any of it. Time was a bitch, sluggishly running away from me. Nothing makes me more angry or more anxious than a "wasted" day.

Today does not seem wildly better. My hand is still swathed. The house is still a mess. I'm eating blueberries and whole milk. I'm reminded of how horrible I felt when I was coming off anti-depressants. I got the flu. I've come such a long way since then. I am so much stronger. I am so much more capable, less embarrassed. Tim wants me to come outside. He says it's beautiful. He's wearing short shorts and a blue t-shirt. He's beautiful. I feel ugly, pale, and reclusive; soft and slimey, a bandaged snail.

I'll go outside though.

ETA: How could I forget how great boredom and restlessness can be for creative output? I spent my entire childhood waiting for something to happen. I never really made anything happen--I didn't know how. I failed a lot. But I also got into this little habit of writing about the fine-grained and torturous in life and boredom and relationships, and it really has served me well.

All to say: two new poems this afternoon and a sketch for a bit of graphic design I'll be needing soon . . . 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

on actually writing stuff

Great news, folks.

Simpkin and the drafts

For all of my dubious talk, I have something to show you. After sifting through two years of accumulated drafts and notes, after memorizing one Yeats poem, after starting to fill the first new binder of finished work since 2009, after realizing that, contrary to my whining mantra, I actually never stopped writing, I have one new poem and one new story. 

The story I just finished yesterday. It's my first story since The Crow Suits (does anyone remember that one? I scribbled the first draft when I was 16). It's fact-based. It seems that now I can write about my childhood (what?). It takes place in the very small Saskatchewan town that I lived in from the ages of 4-8, and I'm hoping to add to it with more "episodes" from the same weird era. Do you want to read it? I can't publish it online because it's destined for a contest, but I can (and would love to) email it to you. 

The poem, along with a few older, unpublished pieces, will be up on my Tumblr page tomorrow. 

I'm back again, kiddies. It feels really good. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Liam's coffee

Every morning that I open the cafe, my friend Liam, who washes dishes in the back and keeps me updated on politics, orders a coffee. It usually looks something like this. Usually, a person will write down some shorthand for their order on the post-it note, but Liam always orders a quad cappuccino and there's no need to remind me of this, morning after morning. Instead, he draws me a comic. 

I've been kicking myself for failing to document more of these; collected, they form an efficient almanac. The very best in music, world events, Edmonton, and pathetic politicians, mixed in with Liam's adventures in cross-country skiing and stand-up comedy. I have never been more aware of my limited knowledge of general goings-on--Liam's post-its are almost always news to me. Liam personally broke the first of the Pussy Riot saga, and has kept me updated on the ongoing embarrassment that is Rob Ford.

 As you can see, at least of few of them have made it into my espresso parameters notebook. 

For his troubles, Liam usually gets a coffee that looks more or less like this:

Ingenuity for muscle memory, which is not exactly a fair trade.

If you'd like to see more extensive examples of Liam's work, he can be found at

Saturday, May 3, 2014

on practice, on weekends

It's Saturday morning again. I started drafting this post last weekend--I got as far as the title. Oh irony.

I was thinking about what is now vogueishly called 'practice'. I define practice as anything important to do for its own sake. It's related to ritual and to routine; it's often (not wrongly) deemed religious. Or spiritual--we really do need a better word for the care and feeding of our Selves that we rationalist-materialists do.

I made a list of my practices. (Many of them started out as "survival techniques".) They include writing, reading poetry, reading fiction, reading non-fiction, reading math, baking bread, stretching, powerlifting, cycling, tending plants, making the bed, intuitive eating, knitting, blogging, sun bathing, hanging laundry out to dry, sleeping, lying on the floor, drinking water, fixing things.

I quickly realized that with regard to practice I am a staunch weekend warrior. You say I have an empty house and two days off at my disposal? Why sure I'll start a loaf of sourdough and spend twenty quiet minutes stretching and connect with my blogosphere darlings and drink 2 L of water and then plunge into that short story I'm working on. Why sure I'll relax with a thick novel in bed. Please excuse me if by Wednesday evening I'm playing 2048 by the hour and drinking more than I wanted to. Please excuse me when my precious Self feels crazy, abused, and neglected and lashes out at everyone around.