Sunday, February 27, 2005

Gill as Bird

Gill as Bird
Originally uploaded by Barbara Y.

I have returned from my Ontario adventure - a week at Ryerson, living with Gill in her dorm.

This young woman loves to walk fast and most of the time, I older woman, trundled behind her, through slush and snow, along Yonge Street, College Street, Queen Street, through Kensington Market, Yorkville, and Gerard Street East (India Bazaar) - and I would flash on my early Ryerson/Toronto Days. I, like Gill, love this city's energy. I'd forgotten how much.

My family were indulgent. Though they would have liked to have seen more of me, they knew this was Gill and my time, so my parents complained only a little that we were in Port Hope for such a short time and my sister Gael and her man, made the long trek into the city's core to share a meal with us and go to a Blue's bar.

Travelling with Gill has always been easy. Sometimes we find ourselves thinking the same things about the same sights, feeling like stopping for a coffee at the same moment, or feasting on the same foods. (We both prefer savouries.)

I love her spirit, her laughter, her thoughtfulness. She reveals me to me.

When I left her residence last night around nine, I felt as if my heart was breaking, I had to hold in the tears.

We made a date to meet in Los Angeles in April.

Monday, February 21, 2005

I am in Toronto with my beloved Gill. This city is so full of memories, especially ones of my university days as I am living on the Ryerson campus, in Gill's residence, in her room-mate's room (who conveniently returned home for spring break to Alberta.) Last night Gill and I went to a fancy restaurant in Yorkville and walked "home" in a blizzard, snow blinding so that we had to walk backwards. Gill laughed all the way and so I didn't know if I was in a frozen hell or heaven. Afterwards, we climbed into her bed and watched "Neverland" that was a delight even beyond the gorgeous Johnny Depp.

We are good together, my daughter and me. The first night, after we enjoyed a French picnic, prepared by my sweet waif, in her room; we went for a walk and stopped in at a magazine store. The owner, East India, read our palms and pronounced that we would both be famous one day, that writing was an ideal profession for me but Gill should become a doctor or lawyer - in either profession, she would use her wealth and genius to help the poor.

Sunday, while Gill worked, I wandered the city from bookstore to bookstore, and found "The Interior Castle" by Teresa d'Avila for a new writing project I've taken on - and worry a little that a first draft must be complete by the first of April. I was unable to find another book I need "Spiritual Pilgrims" that aligns the thought of Teresa and Carl Jung. (One of the reasons I took on the project.) Though after reading several chapters of "The Interior Castle" I am drawn to the sensual rapturous Teresa who was to heard to mumble more than once "God, save me from pious nuns".

Gill is studying while I sit in this lovely little cafe with free internet. Later we will explore her favourite haunts. Tomorrow we take a train to my parent's house in Port Hope.

Friday, February 18, 2005

I am in my pre-travel mode of angst. I leave tomorrow morning for Toronto to see my daughter and I am happy about this, very happy, but I can't seem to function this evening. What am I saying? The whole day has been like this. I want to leave yet I haven't done all the things that I should do. And I cancelled a date this evening, at the last moment - an opportunity to congregate with a group of women who love poetry as I love poetry. What the hell is wrong with me?

I felt weird leaving Rob but this evening, he rented a film, I have no interest in. Afterall, I shouldn't be here. Last night, we went to a book reading and the author's tale was too gruesome and I had to leave after he read several passages. I waited outside for Rob. My big question to myself is how am I to live in this world? Where do I belong?

Am I being melodramatic? Am I making too big a deal of things?

Yes, I am. No, I'm not. I smile to myself. Rob would call this woman's logic. (Or so I think.) But, if I am to take myself seriously, I have a lot to be worried about - even my neighbour concerns me. She loves animals. There is a dead squished squirrel in the middle of the road, directly in front of her house. I hope someone will remove it.

I worry about the engagement I cancelled this evening. My friend prepared a room for me. I worry about an engagement I cancelled next weekend because I found I have to work. I feel that I am one big disappointment.

I feel again melodramatic. The world will survive without me. Why do I think I am so important? I like to think that I am a woman of my word and I don't appear to be able to keep my word. Do I have a grandiose sense of self?

And such are the thoughts roaming round my poor brain this evening. Tomorrow I fly away.


I return to this entry later in the evening and shake my head at myself. I am now packed and ready to go. I have an urge to leave, to go to my friend's, to be near the airport. But it is too late. My two guys are settled, watching a comedy about a dog who smokes a cigar and insults people. (I am not knocking this show. The weiner dog is funny.) But I can't take them into the city and beyond at this time. I honestly wish I could have pulled myself together earlier.

I received yet another rejection note for a story this morning. I didn't expect it to be accepted but still, I hoped... damn, I better sign off... I am gloomy.

Gill has requested we pretend we're in Europe. I like this. So tomorrow I shall imagine I'm in Paris and shall sit with my daughter in her favourite cafe. We will talk, laugh, smoke cigars, and write in our journals a la Anais Nin.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day. Happy Birthday Helen. I sent my daughter a gift box a week ago. I bought my men small gifts to mark this day. In a few hours I will leave the house and retreat from everyone including the man I call "the love of my life." Does he mind? He hasn't said so. When I set the time for escape - the only time that was possible - I didn't remember it is Valentine's Day today. I only knew it as "Monday and Tuesday".

I am not sentimental but still I feel a little tug at my heart. I think perhaps I shouldn't leave, that I should be with the man I love this evening... For some reason I think of Mary Oliver and her lines "You do not have to be good./ You do not have to walk on your knees through the desert, repenting./ You only have to let the soft animal of your body/ love what it loves."

Once upon a time, I thought I'd write an essay on "love". I quoted, a few blogs ago, from D.H. Lawrence who says that the meaning of love has been lost with misuse, with over-use. I want time to think about such important issues. So I shall steal away with a book of poetry, a trashy novel, and my journal soon. Perhaps I wont' open any of them. I remember reading an essay by Susan Sontag in which she describes one retreat where she lay in bed for three days doing nothing before she was able to work and I think, this is exactly what I should do, this is what I have to learn to do - nothing.

I must shower and leave. Oh, and I have decided, with this short entry, that Valentine's Day is not today. I have changed it to the 16th, on Wednesday.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

I am no longer a mess. Although I don't have time at the moment to talk about the last few days - am leaving to have dinner at Mike's and Mackenzie's soon - a number of my friends have been worried about me so thought I'd better unworry them.

To be honest, I was worried about me too, not knowing how I could ever accomplish all the paper work that had to be done before I leave for Toronto to spend some time with Gill. But I made it through the week - completed all the store orders (in record time), have Rob and my company accounts in better order than they've ever been - thanks to "Simply Helping", a friend's new company, and have even taken care of a list of practical tasks. I am breathing easier. (Even completed a few inpractical ones too.)

I will try to add to this account tomorrow but must run.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I am a mess. Sleep deprived. Woke up this morning scared, thinking of Leslie, paralleling how she worried about store with how I worry about store. In the end, she died - her escape.

At the moment, I am just functioning. This weekend when a work mate asked me how I am doing, I broke into tears. Surprised her. Surprised myself. Last night, I yelled at Bren when he joked with me instead of giving me a simple answer to a stupid question about my computer. Went to bed, feeling a fool.

I don't understand myself. I am nearly, almost through my work load - with the help of a friend. Dunderave Sound's year-end accounts are nearly finished. The buying for the store is almost complete. And yet I still feel heavy, always on the verge of tears.

On Sunday, I could hardly do anything so I picked up a book, a simple book, by Roger Housden called "Chasing Rumi" and read it from cover to cover. It is a simple story, on the vein of Hesse's "Siddhartha", about a young Italian, a Florentine, who is an icon painter, who lives with his father who is also an icon painter. They lead a simple, good life but the young man is always restless, always travelling, searching for he knows not what. And then an older friend gives him a copy of Rumi poems and he opens it and reads:

"All the particles of the world/ Are in love and looking for lovers./ Pieces of straw tremble/ In the presence of amber."

The young man decides he must leave his home and seek Rumi's home in Konga where Rumi "died into love", where he met his teacher Shams. He is warned at the outset to always tell the absolute truth as he knows it, and to pay attention to his dreams, and his way will be easier.

I think the essence, the "moral" of the story is to slow down, listen to your breath, to your heart.

If it were only that simple. Perhaps it is. But I'm having a hard time listening at the moment. I told myself if I can make it through this week I will be fine. I'm halfway there.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

This morning I am in a flurry. I woke up from a dream screaming "help" aloud. I woke Rob too.

I need more time. I listed the things I have to accomplish. Too much.

I hired a friend to help me with out company's year-end. She arrives this morning. I need to make a dent in the chaos that surrounds me but my mind wants to leave the practical and think about what womanhood is (after I read Kate's response to Gill's blog) but I don't have the time to think this through.

But I pause here- to hell with the practical for a few moments - I search and find Adrienne Rich's essay on honesty about the need for women to be truthful.

I don't know if Gill realizes it but telling her "unpretty" truths is not only courageous but a gift to herself and others. She is also breaking through taboos in our matriarchal lineage. My mother and grandmother never spoke about menstruation or conception - not even to their own daughters. I can feel the censor of generations when I open my mouth to speak of the body.

Rich writes: "Truthfulness anywhere means a heightened complexity. But it is a movement into evolution. Women are only beginning to uncover our own truths; many of us are grateful for some rest in that struggle, would be glad just to lie down with the sherds we have painfully unearthed, and be satisfied with those. Often I feel this like an exhaustion in my own body.

The politics worth having, the relationships worth having, demand that we delve still deeper."

I will somehow make it through the next weeks. Ask for help when I need it. And return to where my thoughts want to take me.