Friday, November 21, 2008

throw a stone and watch the ripples flow...

Its strange how we measure...our time, our money, ourselves. I once saw this Get Fuzzy cartoon that I really enjoyed:

We really do measure everything around us by what we individually experience. We measure our money by pints, by car tune-ups, by the pair of shoes that match our new outfit, by the next plane flight. We measure our time by best before dates on milk cartons, by the next client's deadline, by when we sleep and when we wake.

I have no big thoughts about this. Just an observation. I don't know if its a good thing or a bad thing, if its a sign of self awareness or self indulgence. I'm going to have to think on this more.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

crickets talkin' back and forth in rhyme...

I've been told that I haven't been blogging enough lately. Which is true. It has been a while. Not for lack of thinking/experiencing lately, but I guess it has just sort of fallen to the wayside since I've been home. But no more.

I've been thinking about legacy lately. I was out on the town this weekend and was being properly introduced to someone who I sort of knew already, or at least, I knew who he was. He hadn't ever put my face to my name apparently and responded by saying "Oh, YOU are Bri. yeah, I know who you're a legend!" Which made me laugh because he was just kind of being funny but also kind of commenting on my level of involvement at King's when I was there. I remember hearing past student's names thrown around in my years at King's simply because of all they were involved in, and it was strange to me to be on the other end of it. Anyway, I was out with my cousins who came up to visit for a few days, which is always a good time, but in particular, this was an important visit. Chris, the cousin closest to me in age, had returned from his tour in Afghanistan earlier this fall and this was the first time I had seen him since. He came over this afternoon for grilled cheese and to show me some of his photos before he went back home. Some of them made me in awe of the Afghani landscape, some of them made me tighten up inside to know that Chris had been through these dangerous places and some of them made me laugh because he had taken quite a lot of photos of himself when he was bored. He and some of the other guys would swap photos and I started to notice a real self portrait trend. Every once in a while Chris would come across a batch of photos with the same guys in them over and over again...they were always wanting their picture taken, he said. And I started thinking about that. About how, in the middle of a very real military mission, these guys were constantly jumping in on photo opportunities. To have a kind of concrete evidence of their existence, of their life there, of who they are. When I watch the news and hear of another Canadian casualty, its so often accompanied by a photo of them standing beside their army buddies in the desert or in front of their barracks with a gun slung over their shoulder or poking their head out from behind the gun on their tank. And I couldn't help but see this all in the photos that Chris had. I wondered if, when the photo was taken, the solider in it thought about whether or not it would accompany news of his death if he were hit with a rocket the next hour.

I am reading this very-well-timed-for-my-life-right-now book called Brida. There was a passage that I read today where a mother is telling her daughter a story from her past and concludes with, "Thank you for listening to me. It's the first time I've ever told anyone that story. I was always afraid I might die without having done so, and that it would be wiped forever from the face of the Earth. Now you will keep it for me."

So lately I've been thinking about legacy. About how story and image can pass along a history. I have always been somewhat aware of this, but I'm really starting to understand that it is a driving force in my life. To keep a history. My love for language and for is leading up to something bigger in me, outside of me. I'm beginning to understand that history slips easily through a generation's fingers and the consequences are profound. So there are certain people who must, as part of who they are, carry the story. I think I'm one of those...maybe not in a universal, encompassing way...but I feel the weight of history pressing on me - the story of the family, the story of the land, the story of this time in this place. I feel the urgency of it upon me and I know it has chosen me to carry it. To keep it. To share it when the time comes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

there's a design to what I did and said...

I've been home for over a week now. I've been working for the past 5 days and life seems to have settled down to a "normal" kind of lull. I'm getting good at printing things and knowing my way around Vivid Print and learning what its like to be working for a living again. It's friday and I'm waiting for my cousin Jodi to show up to have a couple of beers and catch up on everything. Life seems to be stretching out before me clearly...smoothly...enjoyably.
Beth is gone to visit Kaeli for the weekend and Jamie is on the phone upstairs. The cat is on my lap, kneading my leg and the familiar glow from the kitchen light is making shadows across the linoleum. Sufjan is singing quietly from the stereo. I am home.

And yet, I am everywhere else. I close my eyes and I see Vik or Skagafjörður or Akureyri looking out at the unpredictable north atlantic. Drinking wine, squishing black sand beneath my feet, licking salt off my lips. I close my eyes and I'm in Kingston, wandering back to Melisa's in a blizzard with 4.5 liters of wine and some perogies. I close my eyes and I'm in Killarney, biking through unbelievably green forest, taking photos, falling behind and then catching up again with Pam.

It feels as though I have lived in a dream these past two months. Somehow I need to sort out what was reality and what was imagination and work from there. Somehow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

every time you close your eyes...

I am home. It feels strange to be back, but also like nothing has changed. As if we were never gone. I woke up motivated today. That rarely happens. So I decided to revamp my room. I came home to a pile of laundry that still needed to be done in the middle of my floor and with all of my traveling exploding out of my bag onto my floor, I decided there needs to be a change. I also felt like my room, my closet, my life was getting very cluttered and needed to be purged. I'm not very good a purging stuff. I usually end up on sitting on the floor 3 hours later reading old letters from friends with pile of clothes on my lap that I never wear but can't bring myself to throw out. Today though, today was different. I have two big shopping bags of clothes going to value village and a big black garbage bag of everything else that no one (including myself) would want. And it feels good. I feel like I'm making space in my life.
Next, is the bookshelves. No, I'm not throwing any books out, but they need to be reordered. They need to have places where they will fit and not just collect dust, have months of bills piled on top of them and fall off the edges onto the floor every few days.
I even got the inspiration to fix up my futon a little. It has always had these 3yr old pen drawings of scrawled hearts and stick people on the top of the wood from the family I inherited it from and today I painted it. I didn't have a paint brush, so I used a sock with hole in the heel that I was going to throw out. That wasn't terribly effective though so I ended up just squeezing the paint onto my fingers and spreading it across the wood. It was really satisfying.