Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dina Rabinovitch

I first started reading Dina Rabinovitch's columns when I was working for the newspaper she was writing for.
I was always struck by how brave and how honest her columns were, in the face of what her illness meant.

She passed away yesterday, and with her death I feel as if I have lost a long lost friend. I felt the same when John Diamond passed away, I know I will miss her posts and her grace, will miss how the stories of her children and her bravery. I don't know many people these days who haven't lost a loved one to cancer, and I find those odds far too sad for words.

My only tribute, I suppose, would be for me to share her story.

Find her blog here, and her Guardian Unlimited columns here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Vancouver - the way I see it

Before I started my new job, my commute to work was a 10 minute stroll up Davie and across Burrard.
On a good day, wearing reasonable shoes I could do it in 7, my iPod plugged in, my eyes focussed in front of me, past the pink waste bins, and Marquise wine cellars. Past Numbers and Celebrities. And along that short stretch of sidewalk from Thurlow to Burrard, always there were figures curled up in dirty blankets, gracing storefronts and often times simply the sidewalk, cardboard signs carefully scribed *spare change*, *broke and hungry*, *anything will help*.

The subject of this is controversial, the sidewalks of this city are literally littered with ragged faces and dirty fingernails. A couple sits together on the sidewalk with beaming smiles and outstretched hands. A shaven haired girl sings, her guitar held across her chest. A trembling man holds out his hat *spare some change*, a bearded man throws his arms in the air and fights the demons only he can see. A dreadlocked woman dances and teases the cars speeding past.

This is how I see Vancouver, this gritty reality of a city. Of addicts, and illness. Despair and circumstance. This is as part of Vancouver as the mountains and the oceans, it is a part of the city I never want to ignore, nor turn a blind eye to.