doctor who the girl who waited

fall arrived

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020.
It's the first day of Autumn, the beginning of Fall. The news is about the second wave. They're blaming it on the kids for gatherings but that's stupid. The second wave was inevitable when you don't have a people safe in lockdown, when you don't have a vaccine, when you try to force things to go back to "normal" - as if normal was ever actually a thing. Flu season is coming up so I expect it will be a very tough time for many. Confusion will rise just like the case numbers. At what point are we going to take care of one another? When do we look out for each other? To those who already have been doing that, who have support systems in place or are creating them - good for you. As for me, I'm hoping to keep it together here. We're trying to minimize risk. Fortunate to have a partner who is working remotely, in the living room during the day. Myself, I'm taking college classes at my computer in front of the window, tucked in between my book nook ever expanding personal library.

(18 September 2020) Vincent & Pekoe with that warm sunlight view.

I worry for the cats and for us but it's a day to day thing. The cats help a lot because they give me reason to be mindful. I want them to be okay. They lay in the sun patches of the morning and it makes me feel I am doing something right. If they're okay, we're okay. But we're not. It's a lot of stress and worry when nothing is stable, nothing is secure, nothing is guaranteed. Knowing that it never was doesn't help much, doesn't ease the anxiety - because we're surrounded by examples of loss. You can feel it, sense it - airborne.

(22 September 2020) self portraits on the first day of autumn

I'm not all doom and gloom. This time around, with all the classes online, I have not worried about transit or the panic of pushing myself out the door for class, the anxiety attacks that would debilitate me. I am still self-conscious but less so since I am only seen partially on camera, sometimes, selectively, and I don't have that need to apologize for my appearance or presence in a space quite as much as I do in person - though I still do, even in the online spaces. It's difficult to break free of some thought loops and patterns interwoven in me but I am trying my best to detangle. But truly, I do feel that this is one of the few silver linings of this time period. I didn't expect or know this time last year that I would get another chance at the college program. I didn't know that I'd be nearly finished the first month of classes by now and that I'd be getting good marks and participating in ways outside my comfort zone. I've been learning multi-platforms (like all online students and teachers, I would guess) and I'm navigating Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, not to mention adapting to learning Office 365 on a Mac but taught the PC way. I mean, this online experience has the upside of me being able to add a lot more recent and impressively relevant stuff to my resume when I finally touch it up again.

This is what it looks like when the sun is going down, reflected off the city skyline glass. (21 September 2020)

Did I mention that I applied to be a reporter for the college paper? I did that before the term started, before I was fully registered in (I was accepted, just not in the system yet) and I made it to the interview stage! It was a good interview and I think I did the best I could, offered some input, asked good questions, had some ideas for articles. It was for a paid part-time position. I would have very much liked to have become involved with the paper and to work on it especially during this time period, not to mention the fact that I really need new work experience on my resume. Alas, they went with someone else. I'll confide in you that I was disappointed at not getting the opportunity to participate and prove myself but that seems to have been a running theme this past year or so with each time I've tried earnestly to get work. It's terrified me, honestly, that I may not be able to get hired somewhere. I know that I have some income but I would like to be able to support myself more, ya know? There was one lovely thing that happened with the "we're hiring someone else" email - it was actually one of the most kind, thoughtful and considerate emails I have received from someone who was in a hiring position ever. I meant to respond back immediately with kind words in return but did not want to hurry a response when I was feeling disappointment (and fatigue with the lost potential) but now it has been some time and I have yet to send a reply. I think that such thoughtful words should not go unnoticed or unappreciated and this is just a little note to self to send a nice word when I can. They also suggested I pitch articles / ideas for consideration and that they would pay if accepted. I mean, how nice is that? So, was it really a loss? Maybe not. Maybe it was exactly what it should have been. A chance for someone else to be paid during this difficult time and it allows me to just focus on getting through Term One without any other commitments placed on me.

(20 September 2020) how beautiful, how lovely, the blue of the sky, lake, see?

I rushed it but I completed the 'Me and My Writing' assignment for the 'Write Your Life' course (my favourite class of all time and I wish there was a follow-up to it because oh no, when I actually pass it this term, I won't be able to take it again!) and I feel like sharing the piece here, so I will. It answers the required questions and gives insight as to where my focus is - for my writing and for what direction I hope to go in with life as well. I mean, I don't have much say in some things but I am feeling it now more than ever how clearly my present choices affect future me because past choices made me who I am now. I can do more to make life be what I would like it to be if I direct my focus and intentions now. I'm not willing to just wait around anymore for things to continue to just happen to me (things will happen outside of my control and external factors always will play a part) but I am learning that I have more personal strength, more sway, more say in what I will become than I previously would let myself believe. This is a privileged perspective, a vantage point of a survivor of many things.

Me & My Writing: The Battle Continues

(16 September 2020)

Essential things to know about my writing: It is sporadic. I write inconsistently but when I eventually write, I am feverish to drink from the well. I feel it constantly, this pull, this need to write. I deny myself words as though I were starving myself and refusing water. I’m fast when I write because I have been fasting. The second thing to know about my writing is that it has to come from a place of truth. My own truth or as I feel it to be. Truth that comes from my own experience, what I have lived through and what I know of myself. If I am not writing from a place of self, or sense of self, I don’t feel that I can write authentically. Writing authentically is what I base my writing self on. It started with my early diaries and paper journals. It flows through my poetry. It is here again in freewrites. If it doesn’t feel true, it doesn’t feel right.

My obstacle to writing continues to be myself. I’m very good at distraction via things that misuse my time. I tell myself I want to be a writer – I have always wanted to be a writer. I also tell myself that I can’t be one. It’s too late. I’m not good enough. I don’t have this accomplished. I don’t have that. I’m not educated. I don’t have the resources. What if I fail? What if I succeed? I have circled around myself for so many years now that if I had not been in my own way, I might have become the writer I wanted to be already. I am my own obstacle.

My writing goal would be to write and submit poetry to various literary magazines and publications. I want to put my work out there. I have to start somewhere. I have one paid poetry credit with the ‘Hustling Verse’ anthology published by Arsenal Pulp Press. I need to submit again. Be vulnerable. Be brave. My writing goal is to write. Consistently.

Favourite authors / books: I can’t pick favourites anymore. There are too many to list. Currently reading poetry, memoirs and collections of journals & letters. I would recommend people read whatever calls out to them.

What is so incredible but also sad is that we are at this remarkable spot where many of us can choose to learn from the awakenings, the awareness, the awe of the everything that feels like it's happening, accumulating causes colliding all at once. Or we don't. The acceptance will not be of me just saying, "oh, that's just how people are / things are / the world is..." but it will be of me going, "oh, it is up to me to change, to shift, to let go of some things, hold tight to that, reach out to others, turn inward, feel out..." It is time to push, to show up for my life.

(13 September 2020) that view, tho!
we are all mad

factories and farms

Saturday, August 8th, 2020.
Less than twenty minutes to get my words completed before midnight. I did this to myself. Again. But it was worth it (hopefully I can still keep the streak going) because I had a good time in the Crash Unit playlist this evening. It ended around eleven-thirty but then I had to title the name of the livestream and then start the upload process over to YouTube where I keep my gaming videos (mostly imaginary racing, mostly).

11:40pm Today was the start of the heatwave but it wasn't too bad yet. It's supposed to get worse and continue on for a couple weeks. Not looking forward to that but at the same time, I am thankful that we have air flow up in this apartment and since we aren't overwhelmed with a heatwave quite yet, there is still respite in the cool breeze and air that seems to be a gift because of the lake nearby. Lake Ontario. Gord Downie wrote a love song for it, ya know. Or at least, maybe it was about the lake and also about someone or something else. But the song is called 'The Lake' so I'm pretty sure the lake was a big part of it. Tangent there but I need tangents if I am going to make it to my word count goal in time.

11:43pm Not too sure that I will. I started too late. Sometimes I can zip through the words and thoughts flow but I am backspacing too much and not really getting into it. I think the fact that I didn't leave myself much time has hampered my belief in myself, that I can actually get the words done.

I pulled up a note I had made on my phone about a dream I had on the 7th of August. The note reads: "Pig farm revisit - exploration of house upstairs - disconnected sink and no toilet - outside, people working on barn - saw his whole family" and that seems like as good a place as any to get inspiration to write something, to fill this post with words. I thought about that dream at some point today and maybe that's another reason why it is a good thing to make a note of your dreams or to write it down somewhere - more likely to be remembered - but most times, I would rather forget.

I think it's interesting that the other day I dreamed of the factory and now I've gone back to the pig farm where my mom & step-father were renting an old farm house on a lot that had old pig barns that the landlord still had in use. He later had built large mass production factory farm size ones to the side of the highway near where he had also built a large mansion size house for his large family. I remember when we'd drive past it. You could see the grand part that showed there was an upstairs that had an open concept, where all the bedrooms would be, as though you could be downstairs and look up at it while inside - though I don't know if I remember that very clearly or if it was my imagination or just what it appeared to look like. I know that he worked hard.

I remember that house though. I heard that it was torn down and covered over years ago - the old farmhouse - and of course it had to be, dilapidated and most likely a hazard for many reasons - but because I never saw it taken down or been by to see the land since, in my mind, it's still there. I remember the large ditch on the other side of the road, the one that could lose a car in it if it slid in during winter and if the snow covered it over - that deep! - and I remember the barns out back of the house because I'd look outside the bedroom window and watch the activity of when the landlord would show up to work at them. We used to have chats sometimes, some good talks, and he was handsome and young and told me I should marry a farmer. But let's be real, I wasn't from that world and I wasn't wife material, even then, not knowing what I would be but knowing enough at fourteen. I became a factory worker instead. And I didn't see myself being a factory worker's wife either.

That got me to 750 words, continuing the writing streak (8 days!) but I want to go back to the details of that dream. I remember my bedroom (the first time I lived at that house - not the brief second time when I had a boyfriend with me and my hands were hamburger meat from the work situation) but from before, when I would be laying on the floor of the room and the window was such that they went low near the floor, old houses like that, but tall, too. When I think of the bathroom that was in between my bedroom and the master bedroom, I can't believe three of us shared that. I remember the discoloured water we drank from the well that we likely shouldn't have. I remember that. I remember the septic tank that had to be emptied outside back of the house. And the time he had to get another well drilled for water over in one of the fields. I don't think it was for us so much as for his pigs, mostly. The pigs. The live beings in those old dark barns and conditions. The pit behind the barns that was full of their shit and whatever else - completely contaminated and you wouldn't want to fall in there - you'd die. But in the dream, there were people there fixing up a new barn - not a factory barn but a barn like the older ones would have been built like. I suppose, unless he sold it off, he'd still have that land and maybe he's got one of his kids owning it now and maybe they have built on that land for starting out. I don't know. I wouldn't know.

one minute. midnight.
we are all mad

childhood houses

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020.
Writing in the 'One Line a Day' notebook, I notice how the previous day is forgotten (blurred into the next) and I check the money notebook where I track all expenses and it is the closest thing I have to kinda knowing what happened that day.

I'm sure I'd know more of what happened if I would make little notes throughout the 24 hours but I haven't been doing that. The closest I got was today, when I reminded myself over and over that in one of the nightmare dreams I had today, the old desk I used to own that belonged to my Dad that was made by his grandfather, that very desk my dad said he would fix up and return to me when I handed it over for a refresh touch up after all these years of me having it from the age of 17 (first living on my own) to the time he stopped by at the apartment in St. Thomas in 2017 before my return to Toronto - it was after that dream that I knew I'd likely never see the desk again. I don't even know if I will see my Dad, either.

But in that dream, the desk was there and duplicated (I'm a twinless twin, does that mean something?) and the house was gutted to the bare timber load bearing walls - a dream only, of course - of the house that was sold last year and in this same span of 12 months, the house across the street that belonged to the neighbours I knew in childhood, their across the street other world, their home sold now after the death of the second parent, me knowing this because of a Facebook post.

They remember their home as a loving place full of memories and I don't have that for the house I lived in but I can remember a vivid dream where I ran away across to them to ask if I could live there or be safe there and another where I ran through the front door and straight to the back - through the house like a ghost - and one could wonder if it was an out of body experience like what I did as a kid, floating above the bunk bed to the ceiling - but it's sad, yes, and I remember the parents of the kids across the street that would have nothing to do with me, sitting on their porch with the police scanner on and how back then one of the large city buses would turn at the corner from Balaclava Street onto the one where I lived.

Looking at how much smaller those streets seem now, even widened years ago for traffic and the sidewalks improved for the kids that would walk to school, I can't imagine how those large buses used to turn around those corners and go along those city blocks. I want to say, "sorry for your loss" but I left no comment on her heartwrenching post because what could I say when I remembered the little girl that was me across the street, beaten by a step-mother, living in poverty, surrounded by come and go people and so alone, peering out my window up at the windows that were on their second floor and wondering how it was for the brother and sister that seemed to have a more normal life than me, though I also thought other things as well.

All I know is that in the time I grew up there, I can't remember visiting, save for the conversations I would have from the sidewalk with the parents who sat on the porch. There was a cat on a leash that was there too and I thought about how that cat was kept more safe than me.

11:23pm I'm forty-two years old.

I get it now, how a person can feel younger than they are inside, while the body does it's aging thing or the years have worn parts down. I understand more now of how the mind plays, back and forth in time from past to present. If you're a vivid dreamer with nightmares, the years and memories web out across the mind and through the memory of body, scars, time periods - is it any wonder it can be so difficult to be present? To live in the Now? What is Now? What is it Now? In this time period? A pandemic. An anniversary of a birth grandmother's death. A continuance of a circumstance where one wonders if it will ever change or if it should, while briefly remembering thinking that way as a child - that something would never change that eventually would - and how does this work? Until my brain no longer functions, the blips and blurs, detoriations and distractions becoming so overwhelming that the concept of Time is finally cast aside, given up on?

Will I be present then or gone?
we are all mad

it was the shortest year, it was the longest year and it wasn't over yet.

Saturday, August 1st, 2020.
I'm here.

I don't have to keep track on Spotify - I'm already doing that on - and so I will boldly open up my iTunes and listen to Philip Glass as I did before, without it showing on Spotify the accuracy of what music I am actually listening to - it's not for me to say that people who are truly curious should be looking at for the scrobbles, the digital record of what music I would play and replay and - no one cares about this but me and I should not either but it is a bit of that compulsion to keep track and it is exhausting.

Turned the fan off for the first time in days or even weeks so that I would have less noise as I try to do this and to hear the piano in the music more clearly. It is dark as I have no lights on save for the screen glow, mouse and keyboard. Glare light casts across to some books on a shelf nearby. I have my nightgown slung over the back of the chair. I am regretting the fan being off already.

I read someone else's online journal post and it was descriptive, vivid, a descriptive and personal account of recent events and a glimpse into their life at this time. For a moment, I miss the long form posts we all used to write and share. I remember how passionate I was then about opening up to others but also writing for myself. I don't know what that would be like now. Parts of me are shutdown in ways I never thought could happen. As though I now contain many locked boxes and the keys are scattered, disappeared. Was I fractured most last year or two years past? or was it each thing piled on the other over the years until now the pieces are just held in this vessel that holds what is declared to be me.

I have reached mature age. This is a mature age, isn't it? This number I became back on my birthday in July. That is how many years I am said to be. How many years I have been around for with no idea how many more. Most of us don't know when we will go but when young, you don't think you'll be this way when you get here. It makes you understand your parents more - to see they never knew what they were doing or what was going on - and I feel some more disappointment that they have ever extra years on me and likely that hasn't changed - and is that what it will be like for me too?

I am so lost but I know exactly where I am.

Early on in this online journal, I wrote about my relationships and health so candidly - dramatically, honest, open, real. Now, I'm afraid to open the seal.

To update life in general: living in the apartment in Toronto that I moved to back in 2017. I am here with the four cats - Vincent & Pekoe, Smudge & Chai - and the spouse is here too. I am thankful that we are doing okay - his income and my w.s.i.b. pension. We are able to shelter in place. The lockdown was lifted and so-called Stages of opening are happening but nothing has changed with the pandemic because a virus won't disappear just because some people say so. It's a bizarre resurgence of living in conditions where you're aware of the reality of the situation but it seems like those around you are in denial and make you feel like the crazy one as you point at the emperor, his parade, no clothes. By some chance ironic humour of the universe, I am able to continue existing the way I did before this specific tragic event began and so I am here, like I was before, only I will not go near that door anymore. I am not afraid. I am realistic. And most of the time, I feel or know at my core that I only have myself. Compromised state that I've been in, pre-existing conditions, mean that I must take care, even as I live with the careless, because I have four cats that need me to be.

I have had cats most of my adult life and they give me reason to keep going. Nothing else does.
typewriter keep typing

anne lamott on writing


excerpt from:
Anne Lamott: 12 truths I learned from life and writing

writing. Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts, but they keep their butt in the chair. That's the secret of life. That's probably the main difference between you and them. They just do it. They do it by prearrangement with themselves. They do it as a debt of honor. They tell stories that come through them one day at a time, little by little. When my older brother was in fourth grade, he had a term paper on birds due the next day, and he hadn't started. So my dad sat down with him with an Audubon book, paper, pencils and brads -- for those of you who have gotten a little less young and remember brads -- and he said to my brother, "Just take it bird by bird, buddy. Just read about pelicans and then write about pelicans in your own voice. And then find out about chickadees, and tell us about them in your own voice. And then geese."

So the two most important things about writing are: bird by bird and really god-awful first drafts. If you don't know where to start, remember that every single thing that happened to you is yours, and you get to tell it. If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should've behaved better.

You're going to feel like hell if you wake up someday and you never wrote the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves of your heart: your stories, memories, visions and songs -- your truth, your version of things -- in your own voice. That's really all you have to offer us, and that's also why you were born.
doctor who amy and doctor reading

Book Reading List 2020

Book Reading List for 2020
- - - - - - -
(date finished)
* = first time read all the way through or never been read before
- - - - - - -

1. A Whore’s Manifesto An Anthology of Writing and Artwork by Sex Workers Edited by Kay Kassirer with a forward by Clementine von Radics (28 January 2020) *
2. oliver a lover all over by Maranda Elizabeth (29 February 2020) *
3. My Art is Killing Me and other poems by Amber Dawn (30 March 2020) *
4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (07 June 2020)
5. Resilience is Futile The Life and Death of Julie S. Lalonde by Julie S. Lalonde (20 June 2020) *
6. PERSONALS poems by Ian Williams (21 June 2020) *
typewriter keep typing

Book Reading List 2019

Book Reading List for 2019
- - - - - - -
(date finished)
* = first time read all the way through or never been read before
- - - - - - -

1. The Waking Comes Late by Steven Heighton (17 March 2019) *
2. Where The Words End and My Body Begins by Amber Dawn (08 April 2019) *
3. Mistakes To Run With by Yasuko Thanh (21 April 2019) *
4. My Ariel Poems by Sina Queyras (14 May 2019) *
5. The Allure of the Archives by Arlette Farge (04 July 2019) *
6. A Silence of Words by Olivia Dresher (23 December 2019) *
7. Hustling Verse An Anthology of Sex Workers' Poetry Edited by Amber Dawn and Justin Ducharme (30 December 2019) *