Tag Archives: Vancouver

molten brain puddles

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My Christmas tree is still up.
I kid you not.

I’ve been working a job and a half, thereby eliminating any sort of “day off”, and when I have a free night, or part of a day, I can’t help myself – I chill.

Tonight the thing that sounded best, after reheating pasta from last week for dinner, was a spot of reading and a nice little split of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The book is pretty light reading and not anywhere as engaging as Eat Pray Love (as one of the many review snippets at the front of it alluded to), but it’s still fodder for my imagination that feeds my own aspirations of a visit to the grande dame of cities, and eventually perhaps the rest of the country.

The weather has been behaving these last few days. Sundown was spectacular this evening, and we’ve been graced with light since Saturday. It certainly makes the length of my work days more bearable when I at least get to see some sunlight (even if it’s interrupted by a bus ride nap).

The winter has felt long. We’ve had lots of rain even though the rainfall has (supposedly) been below “normal”. I think that sounds funny, especially when rivers of rain flow down the street more briskly than the Santa Ana flows most of the time.

Those are the days that I wish I was back in Orange County.

The air is always fresh here, though, and the layer of moss on everything that remains in place for any length of time is even (mostly) charming.

It’s a matter of negotiating the less appealing aspects with some finely tuned biochemical assistance. Like sublingual vitamin d drops, for instance.

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Last week I viewed from the top of our tower some local film crews setting and shooting scenes. My guess is it’s Once Upon A Time, still shooting their NYC scenes.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen more filming since I’ve been in Vancouver than I ever did while I was in California.

Well… that’s all she wrote (at least for tonight).

Bonne nuit, mes chouettes.

the anatomy of scarcity

View from Sun Tower

(view of Vancouver from the Sun Tower)

Scarcity. What a compelling topic. It’s been part of my way of life for as long as I can remember, all the way back to childhood. Something was always missing and that feeling of “not enough” an inherent part of every one of my waking moments to a greater or lesser extent.

Now moreso, since I’ve been without work and have not found a replacement job to date.

I thought that somehow I could manage to shift from one industry to another by sheer force of will and transferable skills. Apparently thirty years in one area, despite there being an overlap in skill set and an accumulation of many other (applicable) skills throughout the course of these many years, is not sufficiently convincing enough for someone to hire me into untested areas. The only way I can make the shift is by getting more training and/or going it on my own somehow. Both, I suspect.

I thought all of this free time would enable me to be creative, that I would take advantage of it to get things done that I’ve always wanted to do.

I even warned a co-worker who had been laid-off a few weeks prior to me to stay focused on the gift of time rather than on the state of worry that being without a job invariably puts us into.

Turns out that money really does make the world go round and that I can’t do much without more of it, that worry over finances summarily blocks the places where my creativity lives and that on top of blocking creativity, it also seriously limits my cognitive ability to think outside the box… so creative thinking not just in creative terms but also in practical terms, is also stunted.

I’ve been reading Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir.  (If you feel moved to purchase the book, I would be immensely grateful if you use my link to purchase it.. it adds a few pennies into my Amazon Associates fund – thanks in advance.)

The book raises some interesting points on how scarcity in its various forms affects our ability to work through the lack, ostensibly affecting us in all areas of our lives not just the ones where the scarcity occurs. Essentially, if one is experiencing scarcity in one area, it is likely to diminish our cognitive ability to find a workable solution to resolve the lack. So lack perpetuates lack and degrades our ability to figure out a way in which to overcome it.

That’s huge, in my opinion. It also is very much in line with my own experiences, and speaks to the very large epidemic that is sweeping the poor and quickly declining middle classes. We are in a bind and seemingly incapable of coming up with viable solutions. How did the human race manage to survive for millions of years and yet become so paralyzed and incapable of finding a good resolution to its most pressing current issues?

These days basic survival is on my mind. Shelter. Food. Bus fare so that I can travel to interviews or temporary assignments. There is very little wiggle room and it is quickly diminishing to even less. I think it is difficult for those who are not faced with these issues to fully understand their implications.

The book promises to provide “simple suggestions that just might change the way you live”. While I am creeping through the first chapters – the writing style, though informative, is a little stilted – I hope that these suggestions will provide the change that will shift this life-long rut I’ve found myself in.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts, both on the topic and the usefulness of the book.

Love,
Adriane xo

legends and inspirations

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Well… I almost missed my date with greatness. My alarm was set to ring early; I awoke with a start at 8:40 (late, late, late) realizing that I hadn’t reset the alarm to ring on a weekend day. So alarmed, I threw clothes on and ran out the door. Traffic cooperated and I made it into town in record time (I had intended to take transit – oh well).

I met Colleen near the office and we drove to Granville Island with enough time to spare for an inhaled cup of some JJ Bean dark roast and a chocolate almond croissant from L’Échalotte et al. Breakfast of champions (you know… sumo wrestlers).

Hundreds of people are packed into the theatre, many no doubt like me waiting to be in awe by the grande dame of Canadian literature. Peggy (as she is many times addressed by her writing peers during the panel but whom most of the world knows as Margaret) is to Canadian literature (or literature in general) what Judi Dench is to the theatre. Resplendent. And incredibly funny.

All of the panel participants are wonderful and provide great Insight both into the historical aspect of Canadian literature throughout the latter half of the twentieth century and into this one. Savvy. Something I am (perhaps obstinately) not. The arts are a fickle realm to operate in – we all wish to indulge the creative genie living in each of us but we are seldom able to make a living doing only that (because, as was mentioned during the discussions, there is a popular notion that the results of our endeavours should be free because why should people pay for something that we had so much fun in creating?).

At the end of the panel they pulled a name out of a hat – let me correct that to Margaret Atwood pulled Colleen’s name out of a hat… a brilliant stroke of luck since their original method for awarding the prize (which was from the publishing house Anansi and included a gorgeous black leather bag stuffed full of their ten newly released A-List titles, and an A-List Roots t-shirt) was a bust when they realized many people had chucked their feedback forms into the recycle bin – we never even got one. Since Colleen purchased both of our tickets she had the grace to share some of the spoils, and I’m looking forward to reading (for the first time, I’m ashamed to admit) Graeme Gibson’s Five Legs.

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Recently (at one of the north by northwest studio 2 book club recordings I attended), one of the audience members asked the eternal question of the unpublished wannabe published author: what do I need to do to be published? In response one expects to receive concise directions (a formula, really) and names (preferably with a “hey, I’ll hook you up”). I remember because I was that person, asking that question (and hoping for that response) some time ago. Until I had an ah-ha moment. I’m still unpublished but I realize now that that is the wrong question. It’s not about the deal or the money or the contact name – it’s about writing and the craft of writing, loving to do it so much that the process is in itself the reward, and because not doing it would break your heart and leave you somehow incomplete. Not that writing things like Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray don’t bring huge monetary reward (though they are flukes of the highest kind) but because the kinds of things I wish to write I wish them to crawl under your skin and settle into your heart and psyche, and maybe, just maybe, you will want to read them again. And I still have so much to learn on how to achieve that, but at least I am now asking the right questions.