I can’t sleep

I thought I’d do a bit of a core dump.

Why do I want to write? “Find the why and you’ll find the way,” says Michael T. Sheehan.

It seems an absurd question. Once I mastered letters, they were indeed my servants. I can make them line up and do things other people do not even attempt to do, especially not in the length of time I generally give myself to do it.

I write because I can. I write because characters sidle up to my mind and kick my ass and breathe in my ear and get anxious, anxious I tell you, when I don’t get them right. I write because I briefly visualize something interesting, (it has to be brief, as my powers of visualization are not great) or synthesize two or three pieces of recently discovered tech or science into a McGuffin. I write because I’m in love with someone else’s characters, and I want them to have a thousand first kisses, a thousand first sensual caresses, a thousand first ‘no, you say what you were going to say’ moments. The awkwardness and pressure of first lust, that wickedly funny burgeoning that fires HOLY FUCK along every synapse and ends in sticky cuddles. I write because until the editing starts, it’s fun. I write because even when it’s not fun, it’s worthwhile.

I write because I can spell. I know that sounds stupid, and spelling is nothing on talent, Sam Delany and Gerald Durrell being classic examplars. But I can see the words and they are as solid and real as bricks, except of course no one else can feel that way. I write because I’ve had a lot of experiences, mostly good, and I want to share them. I write because villains are trite, heroes are hard, and outwardly unremarkable people are anything but. I write because I fantasize a lot, about a lot of different things. I write because I am interested in just about everything except keeping my room clean.

I write because I don’t have to clean my room when I’m writing.

I write because I want to sew a bead on the things you think when you’re in the process of changing your mind about something. I write because I love talking, and I love dialogue. I write because I can say what I want to say about things that are important to me.

I write because nobody sees the world the way I do, and yet with each passing year I get more like everyone else. I don’t understand how that works, I may never.

a house

Having a house means that I can put up unexpected guests, and I’m good with that. Much love and hugs to the ones needing shelter…

First two hours of the shift last night were gross, the rest was okay.

It’s a beautiful sunny but damned windy day. There’s still power out for 8000 customers in the lower Mainland, but that’s far less than 6 hours ago, when the wind was blowing a gale.


Thank you to Tom for being Customer 31 for Midnite Moving Company.  Also to Tom and Peggy for feeding me lunch (stew with dumplings, leftovers but who the hell cares, Peggy cooked it) and THE BEST strawberry rhubarb pie I ever et, no fooling.

They picked me up and dropped me off too, so I really felt like visiting royalty. PEGGY AND TOM ARE GOING TO BE GRANDPARENTS AGAIN and I can’t say any more than that until later but really, it’s great they are being such successful organisms.

I’ve ordered a new mattress, it should arrive later this week.  My current mattress will get moved to the top of the bunkbed, which will make the cats happy, and I’ll get a hopefully flatter and more comfortable sleep – the old mattress is very hilly. I’m really working on having better sleep hygiene and I have to say I’m getting more and better quality sleep than I did before I was working, but also I feel sometimes… like I’m literally sleeping away the day, and my friends never know when to call me.

Something else happened with respect to work this week. I just learned that if you don’t enroll within 30 days of becoming eligible for benefits the payout is limited to 100 dollars for the first year.


LIKE FUCK YOU FUCKING FUCKERS. I didn’t get a reminder, not nothing, and there’s nothing in the employment contract about it, just that I’m eligible. I mistook it for 6 months, but it’s 3.

I should make another list… the last list made me super productive for the day.




Work is pissing me off so bad right now I almost quit in a rage, but I’ve calmed down a bit.  I need a job, but not necessarily this one.

It’s just tiresome that’s all.  She mumbles into her phone, I ended up in a yelling contest, she came downstairs and we thrashed it out. It’s exhausting.

I know where the morgue is now. I walked one of the housekeepers past it, as they hate going over to the Sherbrooke Centre at night and I ain’ ascairt.

Productive errand day, thanks Jeff for the loan of the vehicle. Project GET ALLEGRA SOME HENLEYS is now concluded; I recycled all the AA batteries; I picked up rilly nice treats, replenished the beer, got my fave soap, got another eye mask since I couldn’t find my old one. I also got two loads of laundry done, had a lovely long phone call with Tammy and slept a lot

The Trail

Walking the trail is a many stranded thing.

Some sing as they walk, the cheerful filthy songs of the schoolyard, or pop hits, or hymns from various traditions. Some go alone, some in silence.

A few are carried. There are portions of the trail where a chair will go, but not everyone’s that lucky, to have someone to help. Babies and toddlers go in slings, all the time. Then, by tradition, they need feel no pressure, as adults, to walk the trail. It’s a strange combination of infant and adult baptism, as a Christian explained it to me. I never understood baptism except as the delight taken in overwriting the expulsion from water that marks the creation of a human, not-breathing to breathing. This water is more important than that water, it opens a gate to heaven.

I will take the trail, for it is life. There is water there, a dozen icy springs where you can replenish your bags, and you can collect the rain that falls in the grim half of the year when the sun hides and only comes out once in a while to pick through its reflection in puddles.

Old people go when they’re told they’ll die soon. Some get better; some are carried off feet first.

The guides and the search and rescue people are, for the most part, worthy of the trust we put in them. The rangers who care for the trail, and collect a share of the take from the trail and the park that sits at the southern end, are a quixotic, taciturn bunch.

I’ve been told they are mostly ex-military. One of them is the largest properly formed man I ever saw. I could not claim to have met him, for we never spoke. Walkers later say, ah, him, the huge one, but not one of us has an anecdote or a witticism. He was silent, and let his companion do what talking was needed. Some say he can’t speak, but I doubt that. I think he has found congenial work, which matches his desire to speak.

I met only one who’d speak for any length of time, but I have walked the trail more than once, so I’ve had more conversations than most. This will be my sixth attempt. I broke an ankle the last time. I am choosing a more popular time of year now; I am taking a radio.

The attendants and rangers go up and down the trail as need calls.  Walkers start in the south and go north, and we all come back by boat, sometimes gaily drinking on deck, sometimes grimly puking below. This is true whether we do a half trail and get off at Corso Bay, or get off at the traditional end point, Rashid Inlet.

There are a handful few who walk, and climb, and crawl, across Hell’s Head, the most northern tip of the Island; it’s an excruciating, narrow trail, so dangerous that there are portions guides will not work. There are much easier paths set back from the ocean, but the oceanside affords views and camping not matched anywhere else in the world, to match the agony of getting situated; during the solstice one feels as if one was ‘hanging in the sunset for an eternity before dark finally steals across the ocean’. Or so says the man asked to say it by a camping equipment company.

Many people refuse to walk the trail, even though in some ways it has become an unsubtle badge of, if not citizenship, then civic participation. We must have more in common than being human, apparently, to feel some kinship. If we choose to plant our commonality in an activity that those who feel a horror for nature, its fecund rot and indifference to human scale, will shun, we state what we’re about.

This is a strange world, and we’re trying to make it into home. The trail is beautiful and its vistas, lookouts, waterfalls, outcrops of jagged rock, caves and hot springs are a string of precious gems along a prosaic string of, in spots, difficult hiking.

The first steep incline is called the Grampskiller. My grandson told me not to die on it.  I told him I wouldn’t dream of it. I go alone to think, to breathe, to plan, to grieve. I go to find something I lost, meet someone I miss, perhaps meet the being which has shadowed me since I first walked the trail.


My guts are just killing me. I think I’m going to take it easy tomorrow.

2 in the morning. Another 5 hours of my work week left and then I’m going to go home and crash like a Lalique vase shoved off a shelf by a cat.

Mother’s Day delayed reaction meal

Keith and Paul took me out for a delayed Mother’s Day meal – it was yummy. Later Paul gave me a lift to work a bit early and we chatted for a good long while in the car. Thank you Paul!!

Lunch tonight at work was home made bean salad (one can rinsed cannelloni beans, one bunch cilantro chopped, one bunch parsley chopped, handful of pecan halves, chopped scallions) and leftover (comically greasy) Cantonese food.

And somebody left about 10000 calories of blueberry cheesecake in the fridge, which I am currently hoovering down along with some tea.


I’m in one of those weird spaces

After thirty-six years, I have stopped interacting with yet another friend (and they were friends with each other, the last one I lost – they even travelled together). I was having problems with her from the moment she came into my life, but kindness and an ability to tolerate bullshit and being very passive about things kept her in and out of my life. Anyway, she defended racist speech. I got very troubled when she went to some organization or other to ask for a Metis card, and then I read Chelsea Vowel’s “Indigenous Writes” on the subject and kinda went WTF? If you’re not born to that specific Red River culture then you’re of FN ancestry but calling yourself Métis is heaps wrong appropriation. She’d argue the point, but I’ve unfriended her and any emails she sends me are going into the bit bucket in the sky. I can’t stop her from calling me, and I imagine once she’s no longer stony broke that’s what she’ll do.

She has been claimed by a number of FN families, and good for them. I wish them joy of her. She has not been able to safely or healthily live on any FN territories, nor make a living. Not that I’m doing a special job of living on Sto:lo lands, but I’m not trying to appropriate a culture that is not and cannot be mine; nor do I defend the word gypsy in public

I woke up, sweating, thinking that I must go into work early, and found out that my predecessor on shift was planning on leaving, relief or not, at 10:30. By dint of running like an idjit I got here at 10:35.

I’m going out to brekky with Sue tomorrow, ever supposing that I actually get relief at the correct time, and then apparently me and Paul and Keith and Jeff (if he likes) are going to a good noodle place in New West for an early dinner. Also, apparently there’s a new family practice doc taking new patients in New West, if anybody needs one. Dr. Michelle Zeng, ForeMed clinic.

Mudders Day

I got to see Alex on Mother’s Day.  God, he’s so precious.  He insisted on pinball. We made him wait for 5 minutes (good for toddler souls to learn how to wait) and then he was off downstairs. He played both the STTOS and the Xenon game. We asked him if the creature on the Xenon game is a robot, an alien or a cyborg and he insisted it was a cyborg. Hearing my grandson say sf words while playing pinball HEART GO SPLODEY.

U2 and Mumford & Sons was great

Many aspects of the venue were not.  We had pho for breakfast, which is a damned good way to have breakfast in my opinion.

I deleted all my fanfic from the repository – almost 100K words. I still have it on my laptop. If I work on it any more it will be for me and my entertainment, but I think I learned my lessons. I learned that trying to do a good job isn’t enough. Being humorous and grammatically correct isn’t enough. ‘Following your instincts’ isn’t enough. I have learned the hard way that the only authors who count, in this culture, are the ones getting paid for it. So now I have to work on increasing my opportunities to make money via writing, which is not much fun, but it’s the people who can make money who get the happy faces. 

Honestly, I feel sick about all of this, but as with many other aspects of my life right now there are desperately few people I can talk to about it.



half over

This shift is dragging again, I mean severely dragging.  Phone is not ringing. I’m so sleepy I feel like I can’t be trusted to brain anything – and I definitely got enough sleep today.

I’m going to see some Irish band called U2 tonight, I’ve heard good things about them although apparently the lead singer’s a wanker.


MISSED THE EXPANSE REWATCH yesterday because I had to work 4.25 hours of unscheduled overtime and literally sleep almost every minute of my 11 hours off. I did manage to watch some PVR with Jeff but the lineup’s getting big.

But I spose I can’t complain what with missing a week of pay to go to Toronto. The worst thing about yesterday’s shift is that it felt unbelievably long – like, the draggiest shift EVAR – even before S. called in sick.

Now I’m halfway through this shift and it’s not dragging at all. Weird.

I don’t need another project and yet I keep thinking of them.

The Angel – a sublingual artificial death note

This almost happened. We tried to make it happen but it broke halfway through the installation. It is very big and unwieldy. It is difficult and mentally taxing to put a large hunk of bronze someplace it isn’t expected and wouldn’t normally go. The angel was in part modelled on the Winged Victory of Samothrace, but that’s because if you’re committing an art prank you have to start somewhere and stealing from the best is still considered style in some locations – although the very idea of location is beginning to lose its efficacy.

One enjoys poor health the way one enjoys bad weather. At times one believes that something is larger than one but finds that one is still alive in most meaningful ways and the very act of being alive makes interesting events and objects, however large, small in our attention. I suspect that I won’t be able to pay proper attention to things until after I’m dead, but even Tom Waits is a bit worried about paying attention to things after he’s dead and likely he’ll enjoy not being mistaken for Ron Perlman after he’s dead, if enjoyment still obtains.

The angel was a commentary on the state of being nowhere, a state for which a word exists: nullibiety. I was asked once, before the angel snapped in half thanks to shoddy craft and crushed me under its pointy hem, under what circumstance one could use such a word and my response is that when you need a manager to sign a fucking check at 4:30 on a Friday you can be pretty much guaranteed of their nullibiety. Angels however are supposedly everywhere, and grand, and don’t show everything they’ve got on the first date, if you know what I mean, but you can wrestle at least some of them. The angel is also partly modelled on that gent sketched about a hundred and fifty years ago who got stolen by Led Zeppelin and we all know those Magickal Sods only stole from the best, so that’s what we decided to do. I just wish this angel, as immobilized as it now appears, had chosen not to duel me, with gravity as its second, because I can feel my crushed life escaping and only my faithful amanuensis – who just sort of wandered up with a notebook after my sibling pranksters all messed off – is helping me, and I’m not convinced he’s not just some rando who doesn’t even speak English, not that that matters of course.

I am somewhat proud of how much effort all this took. First we stole all the bronze statues denoting victories of colonialism, i.e., almost all of them, and believe me there’s nothing like using a thermal lance for the first time with metre long sparks coming out everywhere and there you are thinking you’d love to be entirely covered in moose hide right about now. The horse, cut off at the hocks, falls; you have to be careful that the guy with the sword doesn’t impale you as he tips. Then we’re like (Easter(thepeopleofRapaNui)Islanders) walking the go(ahu)d to his spot except that instead of a dirty great rock we’re trying to move hot bronze across public squares at night and candidly that is how you draw the attention of the police, but we stole a bunch of equestrian statues because the only art is decolonizing art, that much is true in these parlous times.

The angel’s wings hide frightened children. Some are wearing school uniforms, some traditional clothing, some are wearing Uggs and bunnyhugs. Very Canadian. There is a set of empty moccasins walking down one wing; art made by committee is never as good as what you get from a single glorious bullshit decorticated Emily Carr grad. The Great Man Theory of Art, which is a special category of temporally imprecise nonsense. Or Woman. We’re not supposed to judge and yet look at us, how we do, all the racist NDNs w h o is t h e r e e e e al rac (it’s racist) now all the women who hate women all the grown men who hate children, how we puff ourselves up with hate like a frigatebird with its red chest balloon in the mating season. Hear the wild, high voices of women, not exactly in harmony, more like coyotes all trying to yip at the same time, and it is beautiful music but most people don’t like it and they want the animals trapped and removed. As for the rest it’s not racism if you’re getting paid for it. It’s not racism. There’s good work in rationalizations, sometimes you can even get paid for it, lackey to the outworn and sputtering old-man-smelling last-effortful-gasp of capitalism, which we’re stuck with because no one seems to have any fucking imagination any more. We’ve stuck him on a ventilator and we’re partying in the next room hoping for sandwiches but what we want is a cure for capitalism; that fairy won’t appear until we get a grip on how tiny the earth is. I’m sorry; all my metaphors are mixed like my blood with the leafmold and street dust on this nasty bit of concrete.

It doesn’t matter where we put it. Colonialism and its handmaiden multiculturalism will continue to make bad art. We won’t know why until we rip it all out, or let vines cover it. No one is in love with this stuff – it’s just the least worst, the stuff that gets grabbed off the shelf because edgy art always ends up hurting people’s feelings. In this case, I’m dying of it, but it’s what I deserve, apparently, melting down a warhorse and his tiresome rider into something marginally less witless. Goodbye world and don’t forget that gravity will always be a bigger enemy than time.