Monday, January 26, 2009

artsy vs crafty.

Nine years old and Judy Blume is the only thing that makes sense. Fourty-five and between doing the dishes and raising kids, you’ve discovered your destiny: to be rural British Columbia’s answer to Danielle Steel.

“I want to be a writer.” Your vision becomes tunneled. There is nothing standing between you and a large cult following, Time Magazine cover shot, and movie deal. Except, work?
The map of a creative heart is as follows: The left atrium is filled solely with the ego, swelling and deflating; the right ventricle is, in essence, a five year old boy. Left of some far vessel, just right of the darkest cockle, is the part of the heart that houses the soul. It is in that very spot that the artist and the craftsman live. These two are poles apart in practice, but forced to work together by the nature of the creative beast.

It may be true that the creative process for your inner artist is hopping from party to party describing your passions to attractive strangers who want nothing more than to offer you movie deals and mountains of cocaine. Your craftsman, however, is sitting in front of a mess of first drafts, unwashed and underpaid, furiously scribbling on yet another masterpiece. It is in the acquaintance of these two people, that you can begin to define your creative process.

No aspect of the arts is more romanticized than the lives of the artists themselves. They lead Lives rich with strife, torrid love affairs and substance abuse. For many, following in the footsteps of the greats does not begin with studying their ways and mastering their crafts. The first step into the artistic process is often found at the bottom of a bottle, the end of a pack of cigarettes.

Every time someone opens a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, five more drop acid. For every ten college dropouts who crack the spine of On the Road, there are twenty more buying a bottle of whiskey and heading for the train tracks. Is questing after the same experience as your idols a form of dedication, or a means to distraction?
When is the line drawn between eccentricity and substance abuse? Is it when you’ve been drunk for three weeks and the only writing you’ve done is your phone number on beer mats? Easily justified as research for the upcoming novel about a young girl’s budding sexuality in the Victoria bar circuit? When are you procrastinating as opposed to preparing? Is it when you’ve gone back to The Papery four times comparing pen tips and paper thickness? Let pure logic draw those lines.

Webster’s online dictionary defines a writer as: A person who is able to write and has written something. Meaning, the words must be on the page. Words on the page being read by someone else are even better, but one must start somewhere. Writers write. An necessary and at times unpleasant truth, that refuses to be changed by drunken proclamations of “Well, I’m a writer myself” into someone else’s gin and tonic.

Friday, January 23, 2009

5:15 am.

Victoria appears to have two, on a good day three, sections that feel like a big city.

Well, certain aspects of a big city. Definitely not the cosmopolitan - sky scraper- never sleeping excitement aspect. More the one level furniture rental stores- cramped apartments with yellowing windows-half lit neon aspect. East Vancouver before it was East Van. Northeast Winnipeg before it was... well, it still is Northeast Winnipeg.

Along with these certain aspects of big city livin', Quadra street also has a higher than average population of psychopathic, off-shift taxi drivers.

I believe that there should be a sense of comrade between humans when we are forced to rise before the sun. There is no need for cheery hellos, no need for comments on time, nor the weather. There is definitely no need for cheery hellos, no need for comments on time, nor the weather. There definitely no need for opportunistic cabbies to take this unholy hour as mating season. I'm not sure if its the sacks of bluish black beneath my eyes, or the obnoxious volume at which I'm talkin to myself, but it seems that I have just what it takes to drive these Bluebird Taxi Bloodhounds crazy.

It's important to note that Quadra village is not my usual domain, so it is only during walks of shame or strides of pride that I find myself stranded in the valley between Bay and Hillside.
We all know how easily dignity can be snatched during these types of heroic walks, how short the tether between holding it together and losing all touch with conscious thought. When the only cohesive thought pulsing through your brain is whether or not you put underwear in your pocket, number on the nightstand or vice versa.

In my naivety,one morning, I try to hail a taxi. The driver proceeds to screech to a stop, turn its headlights off and inch along beside me. "Where are you doing, WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING?"
"Not with you man, just downtown, thanks"
The obvious response for cab 736 is to begin to do a series of u-turns, looping back and forth around the median. Rolling the window up and down six or seven times, he finally tilts his head ti scream through a half inch space at the top "I cant' take you there, I'm sorry! I can't take you there! I'm sorry!Is that ok? IS IT?!"
It was like all of the taxi-driver synapses were firing in his brain at once, twenty five years of driving around drunken college kids and grocery shopping senile seniors had finally taken its tole.
There is no way to decipher what this man would do next.
Do I call the cops? Do I begin shooting blindly?
Do I negotiate myself as a hostage, throw myself on the ground, and prepare to be hogtied?
Fallowing the road most travelled when I find myself in awkward situations, I fumble past the aforementioned underwear in my pocket and grab my package of cigarettes. I walk calmly behind a hedge, and stand there smoking. The whirr of his window closing and opening and his mutters "I'm sorry, I can't take you there" slowly fade away.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dunhills, Buckets of Coffee, and the thrilling world of highere education

Waiting for the editorial meeting to start and trying to be productive as possible with forgotten resources, letting the writing gods come. I had an excellent interview with Mike, the shop teacher for vic high, man with smile lines who listens to funk and agrees with me on how sweet life is within the first five minutes of conversation. I walked in and he was moonwalking, yes, moonwalking around the shop listening to james brown, waxing down a 1960's chevy. It was so exicting to see someone from the car generation jumping around at the thought of bikes being the first step for all mechanics, and cars taking a back seat. Loving more and more this delving into the world of journalism, I hope to look back on these days sometime as my glory days, when I've found my footing and leigons of fans, gone through a (another?) serious drug addiction and period where I sleep with models and strictly models, and have people care enough about me to give my work colour periods. I reckon this one would be eggshell.."during the artists eggshell period, she ate a lot of quinoa, slept in a living room, and took whatever assignments she could get, including dry college policy changes and doggy daycare reviews"

Lesson of the day: 9-5's get in the way of anything close to production