Like sand through my fingers, it just seemed to slip away. Almost like that’s how it was always meant to be. Withered up alongside all of the tidy, check-marked boxes of my responsible, adult life.
It was part of my life that I cherished dearly. It was something that belonged to me and only me. It was the reason I stayed sane and productive and didn’t just get in my car one day and never come back. Don’t get me wrong, I would have taken my kid with me, and I’m sure we would have had an awesome playlist, but you get where I’m going with this.
That little scrap of sanity was my weekly writing date. More often than not, I would find myself at the AGO, or at one of my favourite Starbucks in Mississauga. At the museum it was poetic verse in a small Moleskine, with a glass of wine and lunch. At Starbucks I usually had my laptop and a latte, maybe a scone if I felt indulgent.
It sounds very simple, and not like much of an oasis of luxury, but it was luxurious solitude during a busy time of my life.
Now I have a beautiful writing room with windows and an altar, and enough of my precious book collection lining the walls that I feel justified in my efforts to write something of significance.
But my writing dates have stopped. I’ve stopped taking myself out, and being inspired by other people’s art, or even the regulars at my local Starbucks. And I miss it.
One of my resolutions (I hate resolutions) leading up to (so as not to be an official new year’s resolution) the new year is to take myself out on weekly writing dates again.
I can already picture myself at the McMichael gallery, swallowed up by the beauty of the gallery and the grounds, completely blissful in my solitude. I’m excited to slowly become a regular at my local cafe, where they wonder what I’m writing, but they know exactly how I like my coffee…steaming hot. The hottest of dates are always the ones that kept me creative, interested & engaged. I hope to see you out there fanning the flames of your own creative fire.
Pour a glass of your favourite tipple darling, and snuggle in. In fact, just bring the whole damned bottle with you.
Two Christmases ago (is that even a word?…anyway), my friend, the Determined D. gave me a very heartfelt gift. She was very familiar with my love of fine wine, and my love of not-so-fine men.
Determined D presented me with a beautifully, purple organza wrapped bottle of Chardonnay. When she gave it to me she said, with sweet, wistful, Disney-like-fairy-tale, earnestness,
” I want you to open this with the love of your life. I just know that this is the year you will meet him.”
I really, really, really wanted to believe her. So, I took the bottle (still wrapped), and placed it with my stash of vino that I keep on hand should I have the good fortune to keep the company of a wino with expensive taste, such as my own.
…and I waited….
And waited. And then I met Mr. Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Life-Everything-Just-Clicked! Ok, so it took a few months longer, but still! The Determined D was right!
I poked my head into my secret wine stash. “There it is!” I thought to myself. I’m going to open this on the big day when everything is official. Given the discussions we’d had, I figured that would be September sometime. Maybe October. You know, perfect weather for a little autumn al fresco dining.
Keep in mind darlings, that I’ve been single for the better part of a decade and a half. Not a year and a half. I’m talking a DECADE.
Long story short, he turned out to be the adult-equivalent of my high-school sweetheart stomping on my heart with the whore whose dad was the town dentist. Oh boy did it hurt.
After a bit of a parade of useless men during the past few weeks, and a really bad week on other fronts, I decided that tonight was the night that I was going to uncork my hopes and dreams of meeting the love of my life.
So, what exactly does a lady do when she officially surrenders? When she knows that there is never going to be the love-of-her-life to share that special, thoughtfully and beautifully wrapped bottle with?
She takes herself out to one of her favourite places. Mine just happens to be a world-class art gallery, with a Member’s lounge boasting an award-winning chef. She orders a tall glass of something boozy, a mouth-watering meal and stays to hear the world premiere of a piano concerto written specifically for the current exhibit.
She then get’s somewhat loose, toasts a grand good-bye to the lying, cheating, multiple-personality, whack-job, dickwads that have broken her heart, and goes home alone (listening to classic 80’s rock so loud the car shakes) to a fabulous bottle of Chardonnay. That’s my guess anyway….
Tonight I went to my go-to feel-better place. I stared out the window into the darkness of the November night, into the beauty of a city fully alive. I meandered the gift shop and decided to forgo buying a guilded acorn that Nordic legend holds will ensure a long life.
You see, the way things have been going, I don’t know that I want a long life. I want a happy life, a simple life, a life filled with love. An acorn isn’t going to give me that.
Neither is the Chardonnay, but at least it’ll get me though the night. See Part 1.
You call it a lie, I call it protecting someone from a painful truth.
I call it a lie, you call it protecting someone from a painful truth.
From either perspective, the other is an inconsiderate pimple on the bum of life.
Perception is as unique as our fingerprints, as delicate and yet impossibly strong as a spider web.
When you open your eyes to limitless perceptions of the most seemingly insignificant things, it can take you down an endless rabbit-hole of realities you never dreamed existed.
As I sat across from a woman whom I hadn’t seen since she was a girl, this concept of perception whispered underneath the chatter of the café.
I had always thought of her as meek, raised in a traditional Mennonite family. She, as it turns out always thought of me as bubbly, cheerful, having a wonderful life. After 22 years of living our lives and becoming the women that we are, we learned that none of that was true. Twenty years ago, she was thirsty for travel and adventure, and inside I was a trembling mess of insecurity trying to escape a life of abuse. Who knew?
What is important, is that today, we are both strong, capable, very amazing women who have both travelled, and come home to roost, comfortable in our own skin and knowledge of who we are. Yes darlings, we’re deliciously confident women. Perception.
Later that day, having tea with a friend at the AGO, I shared the news of my recent professional triumph, and we discussed the world we work in, both from very different perspectives. The conversation left me with a richer sense of the industry within which we work, and a delicately beaded clutch of knowledge to bring to the boardroom table.
Two of the photos were taken just up the road from where I live, in Caledon. The photos had been edited, one side of the wide print including snow and barren trees, the other, carefully blended the snow with green grass and trees in their full, early summer splendor. Seasons of nature and an individual’s lifetime lend their own light, shadows and perspective.
Brian Jungen and Duane Linlater’s Modest Livelihood film installation was my final stop at the gallery this weekend. As someone intimately familiar with the clinical aspects of human anatomy, I found the film (presented from the perspective of two indigenous artists who are moose-hunting), fascinating with regard to our perceptions of mortality, our own bodies and how we relate to the natural world.
Having grown up in the country with hunters and farmers, my perception of what we put on the table is much different than most. When I balk at the idea of a ‘juicy steak’ from the grill this long weekend, very few people understand my perspective, and why I can’t think of anything worse.
Perception; stretched out with an old beaux on Friday night, toasting my success with a glass of bubbly, we had the opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings about why things went side-ways all of those years ago. Like side-ways in a ‘what the hell just happened’ kind of way. After all, when two people care about and even admire one another, what could possibly go wrong? Perception, expectation; basically everything.
I’ve been around here for a while, and I’ve learned that my perception is mine alone. It takes some sincere caring, courage and ego-dropping not only ask for another’s perspective, but to chew it over when it has the potential to leave a stinging, bitter taste.
The truth can be seen from different doorways indeed. I hope I’m always brave enough to go linger a while with my neighbour on their doorstep, and consider their point of view. Sometimes the bitterness we expect turns out to be something very, very sweet.
Have you ever had one of those relationships that make you feel relieved when that certain someone finally walks out the door?
It doesn’t have to be a man my lovelies, I’m talking about friends.
My sweethearts, if you’re still putting up with a lover who leaves you feeling exhausted, and not in the delicious-oh-my-goodness-I-can’t-sit-down way we all deserve, then you need to snap out of it.
But I digress….
I had a full weekend of socializing, and catching up with friends who leave me feeling refreshed, smiling, and spiritually buoyed knowing that, although I don’t ‘have-it-all’ by the Bank of Canada’s standard, I do have-it-all when it comes to friends.
None of us will retire wealthy or famous (well, maybe I will, but you know what I’m getting at darlings…). You don’t need a lot of money to be blissfully happy, well-fed, well-hydrated, or well-informed.
My weekends involve a lot of art, a lot of literature, much creativity and enough stimulating company and wine to keep me motivated the other five days of the week.
As is the case with most writers, I like time to myself. Time to daydream, create and observe. But this weekend, I packed in more social time than I’ve had lately.
Following a lovely day at the art gallery, taking in the Revealing the Early Rennaisance exhibit, a relaxing glass of wine, and lovely lunch hosted by my pals, I waved good-bye to my friend’s husband.
After over 30 years together, she still refers to him as, ‘The Animal’. Yes, my delightfully sassy stalks of rhubarb, my pals only settle for the best lovers.
Anyway, The Animal waved goodbye, and I thought to myself, “I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends.”
Later that day I saw a pal whom I haven’t seen in over 13 years. Why did we meet again? We’ve come together as a group to support another friend of mine. She’s stocking her new home following a heartbreaking marriage split.
Later still, I celebrated a birthday, and earth hour with more friends in a beautifully candlelit room with yummy treats, more wine, and good company. Oh, and a real cutie-patootie-fair-haired slice of man pie, who appeared just as I was leaving. Dee-lish!
This morning I met my wonderful mumster for coffee and a wander at a country craft show, and finally made it home to nest.
Although it was a whirlwind weekend, I enjoyed all of the company I shared. These are the best days of my life.
My heart bursts with gladness at our sharing of one another’s lives; in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer. This is the heart of friendship.
Thank you all so much for your amazing friendship that makes everything ok.
You all know by now that I adore my time spent at the local art gallery.
I have been blessed by the art gods, or pan-sexual-life-affirming gods (whomever inspires you my darlings), to live near a world-class gallery.
I spend many a Sunday afternoon sipping wine in the member’s lounge, chatting to fellow artists, wanna-be artists, or perhaps just myself, Moleskine and smooth writing pen in hand.
Some days I write pages, and other days the page holds out its fabulously, gnarled hand and won’t let me write a damn thing.
Most of all, beyond my nine-to-five life, the gallery feeds the flame of my creativity.
The art feeds my imagination, and what, pray tell, my sweet, tender ,figs, would an artist be without imagination?
My top ten fantasies inspired by the AGO
1) I finally find that flowing scarf that never snags, flops into my soup, or makes my voluptuous ass look big. I also find the perfect sexy boot that doesn’t make me sound like a Clydesdale clopping across the sacred silence of gallery space.
2) I am bent over the knee of Rodin’s Adam, being shagged mercilessly by a very determined lover. He must be virile and skilled enough to finish the entire job before we get tossed out of my Eden of art forever. Preferably he speaks no English. Better yet, he doesn’t speak at all.
3) All of the books that whet my insatiable appetite for the exchange of ideas are priced reasonably, and I meet a man across the crowded, over-priced gift shop who is as hungry for intellectually stimulating intimacy as I am. (Hopefully this one speaks English, but with a sexy Irish brogue, or French yum-yum-accent).
I’m afraid that sums it up. I know lovey, I know, I did say there were ten fantasies, but I can’t share the rest with you. I’m saving them for someone special.
The gallery inspires me to creative, lustful, philosophy. It’s as simple as that. The other seven fantasies are for that yummy man, whom I meet as he sizes up my books and I size up his, er, um….anyway, our, eyes lock across the crowded bookstore/coffee shop/gallery/coat check/gate/pub/studio, and I know he’s the lucky one.
Not having ever been a Patti Smith fan, I poo-pooed the ‘Camera Solo’ exhibit at the AGO before I even had a look. Just great, I thought, another exhibit of work that isn’t worth looking at but for the name attached. Gimme a break.
I was blown away by the images and poetry on display at the AGO, and have a new respect for Patti Smith as an artist, not just some washed up rock queen.
I pride myself in having exposed my child to the world of art and culture our local art gallery. Albeit entirely against his will, and almost entirely forgotten but for the delicious croissants served in the member’s lounge.
I also pride myself in not having had a wild jungle freak tearing art from the walls, fingering Rodin’s Adam, or running his own stroller NASCAR style around the galleries.
Please, I beg of you urbanite, let-them-explore-so-I-can-continue-to-be-a-child-and-buck-the-social-burden-of-parenting, keep your little monsters at home. Unless of course you’ve grown up yourself, and use the outing to teach etiquette and behaviour standards.
Today at The AGO’s Patti Smith, Camera Solo exhibit I had the good fortune of practicing patience and peace. Oblivion-feigning parents (because no one is that stupid) whose children were walking on the lounges, moving the art on the walls, and racing around the gallery granted me a choice; I could either wallop the turds and tune them in about their ill-behaved selves and offspring, or I could take in the exhibit quietly, serenely, breathing deeply and being thankful that I have access to such wonderful art.
I chose the latter, simply because prison orange is not my colour.
In all deep spiritual practice, children are welcomed as a valuable part of the community. So, it leaves me wondering when I’m at a gallery or performance, just what side of the thick grey line do I take when parents (I don’t blame the children), do not respect the space (aural, visual and tactile) of other patrons?
I chose today to attend the local art gallery because tomorrow, Family Day, has been advertised by the gallery as a day to bring in children. I’d rather guzzle a bottle of Absinthe and run the sub-zero streets naked, than dodge bored, whining, sometimes screeching, un-supervised children thank you very much.
Admittedly, it is my generation of parents who’ve got it all wrong. If you’ve committed to children, you’ve sacrificed your ‘cool’ quotient. Parenting is not cool, it is sincere work and bonding. Your children deserve parents who teach manners, get real about what is kid appropriate and what is not.
A children’s museum is kid appropriate. A dinosaur exhibit is appropriate. Watching airplanes take off and land is appropriate. Patti Smith??? Not so much inappropriate as dull as shit for toddlers and babies. Hell, some adults would be whining and picking at your sweater to get out.
I see parents still spoon-feeding their four-year olds, laughing at the little buggers when they press their fingers against centuries old paintings, and letting them run like wild rabbits in places where the only excuse for running or loud talking is if there’s a fire or gun-wielding maniac.
My generation needs to grow up and parent children to become the kind of human beings that other human beings want to share the planet with.
A word to the wise; be sure to visit the Camera Solo exhibit on a weekday to avoid sitting on a muddy lounge, or getting your shins scraped by, toddler-driven strollers.