Monday, October 30, 2006


"In Chinese Astrology, women born under the tiger sign are hard to marry off - they are said to be wicked 'man-eaters.", I tell him with a sparkle in my eye, proudly displaying the newly tattoed symbol on my shoulder.

"But I am an Ox, and I will always be stronger. I can handle a wicked tiger" he says, holding my small hand against his.

It is before the fights, when we are still hopeful, when we are still in love.

Later, when is healed he traces the lines with his thumb. Tiger.

Over the years, the ink fades from black to an inky grey. We move on for new adventures, fall in and out of love, suffer heartache and loneliness, joy and expectations.

But somehow I cannot detach memories from the faded lines on my skin, come to loathe the sight of it. And although I wouldn't trade those memories, I can at least erase this mark from my skin.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

first day of school (again)

You don't want to be the first to arrive, nor the second. Nervously peering round corridors to ensure this is the right room, anxious enough to not try to initiate conversation. I arrive breathless and excited, become the third.

I look down at the desk, at my hands, rustle in my bag, lay notebook and pen together. Glance outside over False Creek and Granville Island. We sit there in silence, resisting the urge of school the shuffling feet, the rustling of the new arrival taking off her coat, gangs of laughing students passing by. A polite "Is this seat taken?"

I wonder if they are as nervous as me. I want to laugh out loud at the absurdity, but instead smile at the man who has just walked in.
I have often been accused of aloofness, but it is a shyness that keeps my eyes downward. I wonder what their stories are, why they are here.

Walking through the corridors with my prospectus grasped firmly in my hand, I pass students in their jeans and creativity. I feel a fraud, coming straight from work in my black suit and high heels, trying to banish that voice which says "You don't belong here" to the back of my mind where it no longer has value.

But I do. I do belong here, my camera bag rubbing against unopened film and developing reels, my hands on the desk in front of me, wishing the class would start.

And when it does, the silence shifts. Shoulders relax, somehow there is another energy already. We break the ice, introduce ourselves.
And in the break over canteen coffee, the beginnings of friendship start to emerge as nervous small talk gives way to creativity and curiousity.

I start to see in black and white images, devour the inspiration of Diane Arbus and Henri Cartier-Bresson, wish that when she walked past me, I had taken the opportunity to speak to Jane Bown in the Observer offices.

I am here because I want to tell stories, without words. Capture that perfect moment, that image. I am here because I want to be better than what I am right now.

And so here I am again.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Anonymous Ranter

Vancouver, it appears, is a city of ranters.

From surly bus drivers, to overly friendly passengers, bridge and tunnel traffickers and bad driving, to heated debates about the rain. And who could possibly forget those obligatory rants about the lack of single men and single women; or the overabundance of dog shit on the sidewalks, bums and beggars?
Vancouverites are not afraid to say it, loud and proud. *

Completely anomymously, however.

I wonder if I have become too complacent, or simply accepted those things I can't change?
No matter how hard I try, it's still going to rain when I've forgotten my brolley. There will still be a queue around the corner of my local coffee shop when I'm running late and caffeine less for work, dogs will continue to defecate sidewalks and walkways while their owners turn blind eyes, the West End will continue to be noisy and when I get on a bus, I will still be that girl the crazies want to speak to.

And still, there will always be that random angry Anonymous Ranter.

"I've been lucky," I say to Amelia as we get into the dreaded elevator and make our way out for a little Bob Dylan last week, "I've never had a nasty anonymous comment on my blog..."

Well, until recently.

Perusing comments the other day, I came across an angry little rant. Well, not a rant as such, just a little, well... a little je ne sais quoi

"Why do you lie in all your posts" my Anonymous Ranter starts, "and tell boring stories which make me pity you?"

The rant carries on "Don't think we don't know you stretch the truth to sound more exciting, but somehow your stories still suck."

Which gets me thinking. If I know said Anonymous Ranter, why would they be hiding behind the Anonymous cloak?

I wonder if it is an ex-lover, tall and bitter hunched over a keyboard, an angry mind twisting knives into words?

Or an old friend, an old acquaintance, who has somehow fallen out of favour? Sat in a pristine office, slumped shoulders and folded arms, blue eyes rimmed red with anger?

Or are you no one I know? Lurking from site to site, devouring the thoughts and words of strangers in the hope it will calm your beating heart and still your white hot rage?

Whomever you are, I do not write for your pity nor your pleasure.
You have a choice, and if you don't want to come in, have a cup of tea and a chat, meet some interesting people... well, there's a button on the top that says "Next Blog".

I suggest you click it, and move on.

* If in doubt, pick up Westender magazine any week, flip to Rants and Raves. Make a cup of coffee. Sit back. Read. Nod head on occassion.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

not quite a man cold

But the Marquise cold...

I feel dreadful, my body has succumbed to too little sleep and too much excitement.

I ache.

My throat is sandpaper, my eyes are dusty, my head pounds.

I am crotchety. And miserable.
I want to cry. Or be held.
Or both.

And although it doesn't appear that I am following the Invalliding rules very well, I still can't find the dignity in me not to announce my Marquise Coldiness and appeal for the soothing comfort of international sympathy.

And hugs.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


It turns out we didn't have all that time after all. September moves into October, leaving behind stagnant beginnings. And somehow, instead of a sadness I would have felt before, I breathe deeper, feel more relieved, put one foot in front of the other, make the decision based on what I need and what I want, no longer allowing chance to play my hand.

Esoteric is blunt. My problem, he says if he can be so bold, is that I write about it and in doing so, glorify the moment.
Whatever it may be, it becomes something more, something more tangible than sometimes all that it is.

Sat on white couches in Bird's office, I am no longer afraid of others' thoughts or opinions, no longer feel prisoner to expectations unwillingly placed. For the first time, I can feel myself, raw and alive, under my skin.
Bird is an unexpected treasure, he is teaching me the basics of breathing, how to connect body and mind, how to be in the moment. It sounds elementary but for me, these lessons remained unlearned far too long.

"...and i don't want to be your regret, id rather be your cocoon
so please
let's take these broken hearts, and use
lets use only what we really need
you know we only have so little, so please
take these broken hearts and leave..."

Cocoon, Jack Johnson

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


"What you must make sure", she says with her back to him, "is that she doesn't take the good pillows."

And even though I wasn't there, it is only later that evening after I have made the calls that I have had to make that he recounts this story to me, I can still see her, without smiling squeezing the teabag against the side of the chipped mug before placing it wordlessly down in front of him.

No one tells us how to acknowledge a broken heart, how to form words that may heal, or at the very least put forth sounds of compassion. How to get up in the morning and put on clothes to cover the rawness of an open heart still bleeding. Sometimes the right words are the ones that remain unspoken, sometimes they are simply all in a look, a smile, an embrace.

Years later, I tell this story to friends, laughing. How the end of a relationship, a friendship, a family 5 years in development can be broken down so simply.

Maybe this was her way of reaching out to him, her son. Maybe these were the words she had for all the words she didn't.

I don't know, she never spoke to me again.

How do we mourn all that comes as part of that broken heart? How much do we hide deep inside our bodies, buried in the folds of our flesh to use as a guide in future?

Sometimes we have to see where we came from in order to see best where we are now.

And that is where the story begins again.