Veronique Darwin

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

A Life-Dream

In Inspiration, My Writing on December 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I realized tonight what my narrator was missing. She was always conflicted, always in trouble, I was just never sure her problem was enough of a thing I could describe to you if you asked me. But then it hit me how to make it tangible, somehow, even through all the vagueness that exists from being in your twenties, in the beginning of a life and not sure how to spend it. The concrete problem is that Jillian once had a very real life-dream, and then over the years she stopped dreaming. Even if she doesn’t quite realize it now (which she’ll have to, because she’s in a novel), her very real problem is that she is now in a big way giving  up on her life-dream.

The appearance of the opposite of the dream, the “life” part, makes her realize the gravity of what she is giving up on. It propels her to look into the mystery that so obsessed her ten years ago. From that comes a reawakening of all the old issues that accompanied her first escape. This time, however, she is set on carrying it though.

From over the past hour, I’ve recognized a more true form and spirit to my novel than I’ve seen yet. Maybe it’s me that’s changed, or maybe my narrator rolled over while I let her lie dormant and did some work for once. With a loose paint stroke, she set an idea in my mind that has since led me on a roll toward reformulating my own life-dream that has as a large part of it writing this novel.

088-walden-pond-2(image from waldenpondstatereservation.wordpress.com)

Yoga Talk

In Literary Events on December 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I go to yoga seldom enough to miss it when I am not there: sometimes twice a week, sometimes twice a month, sometimes every twice month. I miss it because I feel my abs deflating and I feel an intuitive pull towards child’s pose, which is really just lying down on one’s face. But what I realize, every time I “arrive on my mat,” is that I haven’t missed the yoga talk.

It’s a jargon that grates at me, maybe because of its recent mainstream appearance on  lunch bags or because of something more. I think it’s a feeling of being on the outside,  wanting to be in.

I’m sure all resident doctors feel this, all aspiring baristas and apprentice sorcerers. Everyone wants to be at the point where they can use the jargon without feeling they’re faking it. There’s probably always a moment where one tries to distance oneself from it by mocking it. A resident mocks the doctor for the nickname he gives a scalpel, or whatever. But there’s probably also always a moment where one tries it out for the first time, feeling the absurdity roll clumsily of the tongue: “It was nice practicing next to you today.”

I go to so many of these yoga classes and at the end, and at the beginning, and all the way through, I wonder how these teachers can be faking it so bad. They surely don’t actually want me to tell my neighbour one gift I will be giving someone for Christmas, (for example, the gift of my time)? They surely didn’t ask me to run around the room and hug people? They surely didn’t mean that this class was going to be focused on passing energy to someone else by holding in my pelvic floor muscles in mulabanda?

Then there are moments where I hear someone who isn’t. Where I hear a teacher who has so honestly connected with the talk. And I wonder if it’s just me who is the problem here. Maybe yoga isn’t my way of being, my way of seeing the world.

There is one saying on that unmistakable, ubiquitous Lululemon bag that bothered me so much for so long but has since become my favourite saying. It reads: “Don’t let what is most important give way to what is least important.” At first I thought it so shoddy, so simplified and common. But the saying has popped into my mind at several moments, enough to let me know I’d been moved. When I’m driving and I want to check a text message, I tell myself to not let what is most important (my life and others’ lives) give way to what is least (emoticons). I read it off a yoga bag but I made it mine.

I’m finding it hard to sit through 90 minutes of someone else’s yoga talk, but I am learning to tune it out. And then once in a while I hear gems. And maybe they touch me because you feel it, or maybe they touch me because I’m feeling the same thing, right then, but that connection seems to be what I’m there for when I go to yoga: some other reason, some  higher reason for stretching my muscles and opening my heart.

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(from livewellwomen.wordpress.com)

Okayness

In My Writing, Teaching on December 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm

There is a certain feeling that sets in after realizing I’m sick (or I’ve been broken up with, or I lose something very important on a bus), and it’s this oddly good feeling, an okayness with myself. I don’t usually give up easily on things, choosing instead to obsess over them. But when something has stepped in, something that stops me from moving forward, I’m forced to sit still and give up on myself.

Laryngitis offered the best kind of respite. I was forced to stop talking, to take two days off work, and other than a stubborn throat, I wasn’t feeling very sick. But did I ever nap. And did I ever sleep in. And did I ever reconsider what it is I’m doing running around all day and not writing. And not even thinking about writing. And barely thinking even, except about what I’m doing. Rarely am I thinking about what I’m thinking.

I loved getting lost in my mind, spending days in my mind. I loved waiting on something, writing on something, instead of producing something every day and immediately presenting it, and then seeing the outcome of it, and then marking it, and then handing it back. I loved the extreme inefficiency of building a life on a novel that doesn’t really exist, does it, but in my mind. Here I now I live in 28 other people’s lives, and their family’s lives, deciding their every day at school, deciding whether they know equivalent fractions or whether they’ll be forever traumatized by equivalent fractions.

And I thought I lost something of me for doing it. I thought that maybe giving so much away every day lost some storing-up of things I had in me (things I’d kept to write about, things I’d felt and could have used but expended). And I wasn’t able to write in my journal, and I wasn’t able to write in my blog, and I wasn’t able to write in my novel because I’d felt I’d lost the pattern. I felt I’d lost my way of seeing.

But maybe all I’ve done is I’ve changed. I’ve gone and expanded. I’ve just about grown up. And in some deep, dark way, I guess I’ve given up.

So what I’m feeling now, here at the precipice of having lost my soul to the working world, is a certain okayness. A certain good, warm, guilty pleasure at it being simply okay that I haven’t finished this novel. That I haven’t put my name in every single literary magazine, or even one, or even tried. It’s okay. Something else is happening right now. It’s important.

I guess this feeling is what you get when you almost died. But then you realize you’re still living! And all you really lost is an umbrella on a bus.

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(image from hd.wallpaper-s.biz)

 

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