About Me

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If who we are is what we do, then like most people, I am a mixed bag of personas. Writer, bookworm, friend, are what first come to mind. Equally apt would be potty mouth, dog walker, Guinness drinker, swimmer, storyteller, political animal, baker and proud Canadian. Mostly though, I consider myself simply insanely lucky to have a small posse of near and dear ones who put up with me and my curvy, creative, curly haired, opinionated self. I started this blog several years ago with the idea to challenge myself in a myriad of ways. Years in, despite the sporadic entries, I still like to muse about the absurdity of life, what inspires surprises and angers me, books and other entertainments, my menagerie, my travels and any other notion buzzing round in my head.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Productive Perambulations

One of the pleasures of having a dog is the walks. I have always been a good walker. I live in a walkable city. I don’t drive much and like that everything I need or want is a relatively quick stroll away. Even now, with my odd aches and pains, I love to walk.

I have neighbours who go for an evening walk most nights after dinner, to digest their meal, get some fresh air and relax before bedtime. I often take the dogs out around then too and run into these folks as I wander. We stop and chat about the goings on in the neighbourhood, as we see each other each night on our way. A convivial enough habit, for sure. But for me, the more satisfying walks are the ones I take with the dogs very early in the morning every day. Quiet, mostly vacant streets we three stroll block after block, admiring the flowers, Murph and Mattie stopping to roll on the plusher lawns and me ruminating on the various notions filling my head. During the week, some blocks are spent ordering my work day, reviewing my to-do list. But on the weekend our morning walks are often spent mulling over plot points or imaging a less maladroit description or phrasing from my previous day’s writing.

Assiduously working towards my Thanksgiving deadline for Lillian’s story, I cannot help my mind wandering to the next project, the next NaNoWriMo challenge. I have pretty much decided already on a genre; a detective murder mystery. I wanted to pick something new to me. A style I haven’t written before. My problem was coming up with a likeable main character detective and setting for the book. I have been trying on various scenarios. I’d find a good character and then couldn’t plot him or her in a plausible setting for murder and mayhem. Or the reverse. I would envision a brilliant how and where to off some hapless victim and have no clue how to match a detective type to solve the crime.

I talk these things out with Murphy and Mattie as I go. I don’t honestly know anyone who has dogs who doesn’t seek their counsel from time to time. As we rounded the first block, he came to me - the perfect reluctant hero for my story. But even better than that, by the time we were nearing the back porch an hour later, I had a back story for him and a setting for the macabre events.

Since Murphy arrived, I have gotten used to early mornings. While I cursed his early rising proclivity initially, I have found it to be my most creative time of the day. I think best in the morning. I write more prolifically then too. I’m counting on that, as I finish Lillian Munsch and begin my new project - a Basil McNab murder mystery.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Habit Forming

We are, many of us, creatures of habit. Familiar routines and places punctuate our existence. Despite being someone who doesn’t fret change when thrust upon me, I do find comfort in my day to day rituals: the same corner table at Starbucks where I can write with a view of passers by on the street, weekends of dog walks, grocery shopping, brunches and movie going. I like that the guy behind the counter knows just how I like my vanilla latte and am accustomed to seeing the same folks stumbling towards the dog park each morning, unclipping leashes and letting their puppies romp for a bit while they make small talk about the goings on in the neighbourhood.

If Aristotle is correct and we are what we repeatedly do, then I am most certainly a dog walker, a writer, a movie goer and bookshop browser, a coffee hound, a laundry avoider and a muser. He was a smart guy. I can live with what my habits say about me. Mind you, he is also to have said “all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind”. It’s a shame I also have this pesky habit of keeping a roof over my head.

Coming home from the movies today, I saw a woman on the subway reading TS Eliot’s The Wasteland. She had an interesting bohemian look to her, a shock of bleached blond hair ruffed up and sticking out in all directions. The sundress she was wearing gave anyone who looked a nice view of the tattoo curling around from her back and over her shoulder – a gorgeous medieval drawing of an angel, wings spreading. I love encountering people like this. They rouse me from the regular of in my life and remind me of the importance to live unimpeded by convention, and go boldly in my own direction, heedless of the need for conformity to anything other than my own true self. Taking a nudge from the angel on the subway, I am encouraged to make sure my experience of life includes creating, loving, thinking, absorbing, all adventurously. Now that is a habit I could get used to.