Being Me

When I think back on last year, the accomplishment I am most proud of, is my play.  It was just me, my laptop, and my imagination.  I poured the very best of myself into it, and the fruits of that labour look promising.  There were times I felt as if the play were writing itself.  It was perhaps the best creative high I’ve ever experienced.

I’m having a hard time writing my current project.  I just can’t pour myself into it like I have with past projects.  The subject matter is something I know a great deal about, and the culture is also something I’m familiar with.  The first episode is 95% complete, and it’s a pretty good treatment.  The next five episodes will also be of similar quality, but damn… I need a kick in the ass!  I am being paid to write a TV series and that’s exactly the kind of gig I covet above all else.  Why can’t I approach it with undiluted pleasure?

My energy is all knotted up like some kind of knot factory making knot after knot after knot.  All those knots are coated in a bullet proof teflon layer of guilt.  Pure liquid guilt poured generously over top of all those knots.  And the whole knotted thing gets further tied into a giant fuckwad package of angst.

More than anything, I’d like to be me, being me a week from now, sitting in Atlantis writing about how I finished the sixth episode last night and the whole thing is brilliant and the giant fuckwad package of angst went off somewhere, far off away from me, to go eat a giant bowl full of dicks.  Furthermore, I wish that, that other me was on the job right now, churning away at all those episodes so I could be free to drink beer, or masturbate, or watch episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer while chewing on turkey breast sandwiches and thinking about how great life is because some other me is off somewhere being brilliant so I could just go ahead and be me doing nothing but writing in my blog, talking about how great I am.

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The Symphony of Language

In the symphony of language, Romanians speaking English would make up the Tenor and Baritone sections.  They speak the language with long drawn out warm tones.  They approach their consonants softly with a gentle caress, and they dance with their vowels like long lost lovers embracing for the first time.

Fins speaking English would be the Alto section.  They flit about lightly and brightly, dancing on tippy toes with the grace of a ballerina in eighth notes and sixteenth notes.  They hit their consonants hard, like a sculptor’s tool through an ice block and the words shatter brilliantly in a sunny haze.  Vowels are more like holes in the ice they merely skip over and their punctuation hangs suspended in the air, waiting for the next consonant to fall.

Last night I hung out with Nora and Lotta, two Finnish exchange students who are taking classes at the U of R.  Nora is in my Media Distribution class and we talked about checking out some of the sites and sounds of Regina.  So last night was the night.

We started off at La Bodega with it’s ice bar, but the place was a zoo, so we drove to O’Hanlon’s.  They both drank cider and ate a meal while I sipped Kieth’s from a pint glass.  They marveled at how much meat we eat in Canada.  I marveled at how much Lotta could talk.  I thought Fins were supposed to be quiet and reserved.  Nora agreed, but said Lotta was merely broken somehow.

From O’Hanlon’s we walked to Crave, which was a completely different atmosphere.  O’Hanlon’s is a pub and Crave is a cocktail lounge.  I had a Gin Martini and the girls had Cosmopolitans.  After some time, Nora declared that she is more of an ‘O’Hanlon’s’ girl, while Lotta considered herself a ‘Crave’ girl.  I think both establishments have a place in my heart.

The evening wound down, and it was time to take the girls home.  In the car we fell into a conversation about the way different nationalities sound when they speak English.  It was then that the girls told me something I wasn’t expecting.  Apparently, I pronounce Finnish words with a Russian accent.  How ‘bout that?  I studied Russian in my university days, but I never would have guessed that it would spill into other languages.

I wonder which part of the symphony I’d fit in?

Moving Past the Headspace

My prowess on a dance floor is NOT legendary.  I am not the greatest mover in the world.  I blame my mother.  She gave me shitty ankles.  They don’t bend very well.

Moving starts from the floor up.  It starts at your foundation.  It’s like a chain reaction traveling upwards from the floor through your bones and muscles to your core, and from there, outwards.  If the foundation is weak, the whole thing gets thrown off balance.

So I’m standing in the middle of a dance studio last night, surrounded by women, and my first thought is, “Do I really give a shit if I make an ass of myself?”  The answer was ‘no’, and the rest of the evening went super duper alright after that.  As it turns out, I wasn’t the worst mover in the room.  I have two years of movement and dance classes under my belt.  You wouldn’t know it from watching me, but that doesn’t matter.  I’m a lot more betterer than I would have been, had I not had anything like that in my past.

So that was my first Hip Hop fitness class.

I also had a Tai Chi class on Wednesday.  Obviously the type of movement in Tai Chi is very different from Hip Hop.  What the two have in common however, is the fact that I have to memorize movement phrases.  That type of memorization is something I have a great deal of difficulty with.

There’s no way to write down a movement phrase that makes sense to me.  It’s like there’s a disconnect between my brain and my body.  Repetition is about the only thing that works, and I need a lot of it before it sticks.  I don’t really enjoy being so caught up in my headspace while moving through physical space.  I never broke that way of being in two years of movement class, but I’m hoping to have some breakthroughs with that in these two classes.

My goal is a complete unity between mind and body… at least for a moment or two.

What’s in a Name

I have a polite relationship with the guy who lives in the condo across the hallway from my office.  He and his wife seem to have done well for themselves, and they always nod or wave when they come and go past my door.  Occasionally their dog runs into my office to check things out, allowing for a nice friendly small-talkish type conversation.  They both know my name, and I don’t remember theirs.  It’s been this way for years, and after so long, you don’t just say, “So by the way… what’s your name?”

Then yesterday comes along and things get weirder, which is normal for me.  The day was already off to a slow start and I didn’t mind so much because I was milking the aftermath of my birthday hangover.  So it wasn’t until about 2:30 that I finally got into the office.  I was trying to decide which of my priorities should get the most procrastination first, when the guy walks in carrying a box.

“Hi Jarrett.  Wanna see my new dinosaur jaw?”

He unpacked a dinosaur jaw from the box and we talked about it for a bit.  Then we started talking about money and taoism and keeping things simple and real estate and US domestic policy and so on.  The guy’s led an interesting life and has a whole cast of sorted characters in his past.  By 4:30 I had to leave to send a contract off to CBC, so I had to cut things short.  I still didn’t know his name.

On my way out the door I detoured my way into Gord’s office (another neighbour).  Gord said the guy’s name is Rick.

37 Spins Around the Sun

What a motley assortment of characters last night!  Jason, Benji, Rich, Deb, and Monica were there representing the Romanian Syndicate.  Ahmed was there reminding me of my high school years.  Liz and Daniel came from the film creature stable.  Cris was there, representing herself.  Nelson was there from my theatre days.  Shy had the family angle and Meg took care of the requisite friend of a friend contingent.  O’Hanlon’s took care of all of us.

That was my birthday.

It started at 7pm and drove on through to 2:30am.  Not bad for something I just threw together at the last minute.  I felt a lot of love and I really couldn’t have asked for a better birthday bash.  It was weird having so many people from so many different parts of my life sitting around the table with me.  The last time I experienced anything as diverse as that, I was getting married.

What a perfect way to celebrate a life though.  I am different things to different groups of people and I think I act a little bit differently with each of them.  I first noticed this when I was talking to Cris, with Shy, Meg, Jason and Liz all listening in.  My energy (fueled by free booze) was cranked up about five times larger than it normally would have been when I talk to her.  I felt myself switching in and out of different modes… that is until my blood alcohol level reached an ‘analysis schmanalysis’ stage.  At that point I was simply drunk Jarrett to everyone.

Everything that came before the gathering at O’Halon’s was also great.  The very first thing I did when I opened my eyes was read an email from Laura;

“Hey you!  Happy Birthday!! 

Here’s to happy, colorful, healthy, full of great music, wild sex, genius plays and shows, stupid jokes, late night talks, moments when life beats movies, inner balance (whatever it means), communication beyond words, Years! I hope you have an awesome day. 

Much Love,

me xoxo”

Facebook, phone calls, emails, and text messages continued to bombard me with birthday greetings at regular intervals throughout the day and the sun even came out to melt the snow.  There wasn’t a single opportunity to think a negative thought all day long.

So now as I nurse a well earned hangover and type this from my regular spot inside Atlantis at 1:30 in the afternoon, I can only think back to Laura’s prophetic words for the year ahead.  I’m wearing a smile and looking forward to all of it!

The Cold Went and Fucked Itself

There’s an old saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Saskatchewan, just wait five minutes.”  It hit 0 Celsius today.  Water was on the road in some places.  I saw a girl walking the streets in a t-shirt.  Everyone is in a great mood.

Today was a day of connecting with different human beings in my life.  It started with Cris at Orange Cafe at 1pm.  We had lattes and talked about serious and not so serious stuff.  Then at 3pm it was Lupper at Grama’s with Mom and Dave in Moose Jaw.  At 7pm I wandered into O’Hanlon’s and ran into some film creatures I know; Liz, Ty, and Rebecca.  Kisses, hugs, pints and laughter were all on the menu.

Now I’m sitting at a table by myself in a different part of the pub and I’m counting my blessings.  I have a really great beer buz going on.  I like my facial hair.  The girl at Orange Cafe complemented me on my glasses.  I can make people laugh.  I have good friends and great loved ones.  SaskTel Mobility is going to be adding iPhones in the spring and my career is in a good place.

Yet I really miss someone.

Why can’t I just go to the ‘friend’ store and buy a connection to replace the one I lost?  It would be a lot easier than trying to centre and convince myself that there is a rational free flowing solution to every life problem.  I’ve been going through so many warm bodies lately to fill the void, but nobody fits the bill.

I have great people in my life, and I am truly blessed to have them with me.  I carry all of them somewhere inside, but none of them are able to replace the feeling I felt, when I didn’t know I could feel the way I felt with someone who’s no longer with me.

The cold is supposed to stay away for a few days.  I think I’m going to try and enjoy that.

The Cold Can Go Fuck Itself

I walked to Atlantis yesterday morning despite the -50 bitter cold outside.  It was too much.  There were weather warnings saying that exposed skin would freeze in 30 seconds.  They weren’t kidding.  On my walk to and fro, the wind blew right through me and started gnawing at my bones.  It was not fun, and certainly not very manly.  Just ask my scrotum.

The cold was enough to convince me that Friday would be a good day to shut ‘er down.  I did very little work, stayed in my apartment, and tried very hard not to feel guilty about that.  The guilt continued to linger however.  It was like a constant nagging going on inside my headspace.  I couldn’t ignore it, no matter how hard I tried to rationalize my sloth.

Eventually, my guilt and I reached a compromise.  I had a 3pm work meeting at Atlantis and I resolved to walk the 2 blocks rather than drive.  To this end I put on long underwear, a scarf, and a windproof rain jacket overtop my winter coat.  I was about seven feet thick and when I stepped outside, the wind merely bounced off me like some kind of famished spear, except the spear was a spaghetti noodle.

I really felt great, walking through that cold and wind.  The -50 weather couldn’t get at me and I could have walked for miles.  At least I felt that way.  I wasn’t about to tempt fate.  Still, dressing warm was great for my mood and I think I might have stumbled onto a remedy for troubled headspaces.  Dress warm and go for a walk in -50 weather.

I still wasn’t getting any work done, but I didn’t care anymore.  I was oblivious to the cold and that in itself was a tremendous accomplishment.

Capacity

I was having drinks last night with a soon-to-be lawyer named Kate.  She was explaining to me that law firms have things in them called, ‘Partners’.  Partners are the top of the food chain and it’s never a good idea to misbehave around them.  They tend NOT to approve of any unauthorized fun such as starting a bar fight, or talking to people.

Below the Partners are other lawyers.  These other lawyers desperately want to become a Partner some day so that they too could go around disapproving of other peoples’ fun.  They practice by walking up to other sub-lawyer type creatures in the office, asking if “they have capacity.”  Roughly translated, the phrase means, “May I put more work on your plate?”  There is a competition among the sub lawyer creatures to maintain maximum non-capacity.  The most non-capacitiest are the most favoured.

Filling capacity among those who still have some is all kinds of fun for the lawyers.  Their days become like a capacity jig saw puzzle, dolling out a .25 clerg of capacity here, 2.75 clerges of capacity there and so on until all the capacity has been doled out (I just made up the term clerg as a measure of capacity).  The whole thing is an orgy of dividing and clerging out capacity, day after day, week after week, year after year.

Then, if the sub-lawyer type creatures have done a good enough job filling out their capacities for many enough years, they are rewarded by being permitted to roll over and die.

Kate, in her natural habitat, is an elegant creature who would otherwise be found on a dance floor moving about the world and foraging for Martinis.  She is nocturnal by nature and is prone to exhibit predator-like instincts.  She lived free and happy until one day lawyers came into her life.  They lured her away from the dance floor habitat and into a money trap fantasy.  She has been toiling ever since as a sub-lawyer creature, filling capacity.

There are days when Kate remembers her life, frolicking upon the world’s dance floors.  But mostly, those memories have long since abandoned her.  Captivity among the lawyers have domesticated her and she may even have lost her ability to survive in the dance floor wilderness.  Her last vestige of hope is represented by a lone suitcase that she keeps at her bedside.

Perhaps one day the world will wake up to discover Kate missing from her condo lair.  Her suitcase would be nowhere in sight, and one may even conclude that she simply awoke in the middle of the night to follow it down the seductive call of a distant airport terminal.  And breaking the silence from a nearby office cubicle, one might even hear a hushed encouragement from her sub-lawyer colleagues, “Run Kate… run.  Run, run away!  Run for the rest of us.”

A Million Miles Away

Some days, yesterday can feel like a million miles away.

I don’t know why that is.  Time is relative I guess.  But relative to what?  It’s not like the past 24 hours have been a jam packed whirl wind adventure.  I’ve had days like that.  Those kind of days live in their own universe, never-mind being a million miles away.

I think I’m in purgatory.  Not depressed.  Not excited.  Not lethargic.  Not ambitious.  I’m just kind of putting my nose down and turtling forward, in my own time, in my own way.  I seem to be accomplishing things, but I haven’t really noticed.  I’m too busy turtling along.

I found myself at The Lazy Owl last night (the U of R bar) drinking a pint of something I’ve never drank before, and working on Moccasin Enterprises.  There was some sort of trivia contest going on.  A group of girls calling themselves the ‘Femme Fatales’ were sitting next to me.  When I helped them out with a trivia question about John Defenbaker (the Canadian PM responsible for killing the Arrow), one girl became indignant and proclaimed that she didn’t need help because she taught Social Studies 30.  Whatever.  Her friends still managed to smile a ‘thank you’ in my direction when she wasn’t looking.

I also signed up for three fitness classes at the U of R (Hip Hop, Pilates, & Tai’ Chi).  I may also purchase a gym membership, but I’m waiting to see if I’ll take the Film 486 class (International Distribution) first.  The class is taught by a woman I’ve met at various television markets.  I think I could learn a lot from her, but I worry about my availability.  The class is one day a week and I’m going to drop in on Monday to see what it’s about and have a conversation with her.

It seems I’m turtling my way towards a full plate.

Dying Inside

Bright sunny day.  Bitterly cold outside.

If you could beam someone from Miami to the seat beside me at Atlantis this morning, it would be one of the cruelest tricks in history.  The Miami person might marvel at all the snow, seeing how white and fluffy it is.  The sun is so bright and orange, you need to wear shades.  Life is bustling outside the window.

Then he’d step outside and die.

I’ve been Mr. Business Affairs guy in the office lately.  By lately I mean, ‘yesterday’ and ‘part of today’.  The books are all caught up and a CTF application is about ready to be sent in.  I’m also lining up meetings for a Toronto trip in the next two or three weeks.  After that, it’s write, write, write.

I also talked to Kate last night on facebook.  She refused to congratulate me on my play because she thought I was fishing for a complement when I told her the news.  I can’t wait to NOT complement her when good news comes her way.  I’ll even make a point of pointing out my non-complement to her.  Then she’ll think back to yesterday and feel shame for herself.

Either that or she’ll think I’m a jerk.