Thought Trafficking

From the vaults
June 21, 2009, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

“Don’t you love higher book learnin’?”
“Is this that?”

-some conversation with Jane, circa 2007


The world, in its cold way
June 20, 2009, 4:36 am
Filed under: living, Reading | Tags:

It was a Saturday night, the sky overhead was clear of any cloud, the stars as clean and bright as if they were no more distant than the next barbed-wire fence post standing up above the barrow ditch running beside the narrow blacktop highway, everything all around him distinct and unhidden. He loved how it all looked, except he would never have said it in that way. He might have said that this was just how it was supposed to look, out on the high plains at the end of winter, on a clear fresh night.

-Kent Haruf, Eventide

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I don’t enjoy this.
June 19, 2009, 4:52 pm
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Predilection for fiction (an addiction, write me a prescription)
June 18, 2009, 2:33 am
Filed under: being selfish, living, Reading | Tags: ,

When it comes to things that I like, I can be obsessive. Junior high (all of it) was a vivid example of this. Generally, however, I like to think that now that I have reached a more mature stage in my life (don’t ask me how I know) I can keep my compulsions under control. There are two jarring exceptions to this perhaps fanciful perception. One is books, the other is knitting. When I am really involved in a project, be it a good yarn or the other kind of good yarn, it is upsetting if it stretches over more than two days. I want to know then ending! I want a finished product! Not everything affects me this way. I can have six books and two knitting projects on the go and not even think about them. But then there are the other times.

I think that what I’m here to confess is that I’ve been doing this recently more than I should: up until three in the morning, bleary-eyed and unsure of what reality really is. Reading over 500 pages in less than 24 hours, like someone who lined up all night to get the new Harry Potter book on the first day. Forgetting to move until my legs fall asleep and I’m forced to adjust. Eating whatever is in the fridge with little consideration for taste because grocery shopping means too much time away. These things aside, it isn’t the reading or the knitting that is the problem. It is the hangover, the recovery period. That is what I am currently mired in. When I resurface back in reality, it is difficult to get my bearings, uncramp my fingers, uncross my eyes. Also, I know that I don’t really want to be back in reality quite yet, so I go looking for another hit. Mercifully, I am relatively broke right now, so I’m not knitting as much as I would. Books, however, are another matter; I have a solid supply stored in my not-bookcase, in my office, on my dresser, and I also have many wonderful, trusting friends, ready to thrust their favourites between my cold little fingers. It hurts so good, but I’m really trying to finish a class and also a degree.

These are the very best and very worst kinds of friends. The other kind of friends I like are the kind with aspirin.

Langue Gangue
June 18, 2009, 2:16 am
Filed under: between times, Uncategorized | Tags:

Lush, concretely.

Rock Wall

on the retaining wall, retaining orange

out of pavement

June 11, 2009, 7:19 am
Filed under: living

I’m not eager to foray into social commentary – I’m far too ambivalent for such, and I don’t feel that I am as well-versed in current events as I should be. But after attending a pro-choice rally this evening, a vigil for Dr. Tiller who was recently murdered, I feel the need to say something.

I was uncomfortable at the rally, not because of anyone there particularly, and not because of what we were there for. It’s difficult to put my finger on the source of my discomfort. My position on abortion and choice is a fluctuating one: I absolutely believe that a woman’s body is hers, and the right to choose is hers, and that legal, safe abortions need to be readily accessible. These services are absolutely necessary. It is the discourse, the event that I am uncomfortable with. There is a heavy focus, at pro-choice events, on refuting pro-life arguments (and that needs to be done) that I find myself wanting to hear more around the issue, and not just about it. The main topic the availability of abortion and I don’t disagree with that, it’s just that there also seems to be more left to say. As though ambiguity is a weakness.

There are a few memories that turn up when I think about abortion. The first is a documentary that aired on CBC Radio’s Ideas, way back in the way back, I think that I was in junior high at the time. The woman making the piece had documented her own feelings on being pro-choice and having a miscarriage. So much of the debate between pro-choice and pro-life is centered on whether or not the fetus is a person and the question of when does a fetus become a person. Her dilemma, as I remember, was this: If I am pro-choice and I miscarry, how do I mourn? How do I feel about the idea of mourning an entity whichI  may or may not consider a person? I may not remember this accurately, as it was probably ten years ago now, but as I remember she was very conflicted. Bound up in this pregnancy was hope, expectation, love, everything that is ideally present when you decide to bring another person into this world.  A pregnancy that is the result of rape, the product of miseducation or coercion is a very different situation. I can’t even say what kind of situation, because I would not know; I have never been pregnant and I have not had to make the very difficult decision to have or not to have an abortion. I don’t feel that I really have a right to speak about this, in all honesty. But here I am.

Two women in particular spoke about their abortions, one who had had a safe abortion here in B.C., and another who had had an illegal abortion in the maritimes when she was 16. They both stressed the importance of availability, especially to young girls, of abortion services. The rally banners stressed that FREE abortions needed to be readily available, and someone had written BEAUTIFUL on the sidewalk, in chalk, and there were multiple ‘zines on women’s health and reproductive options available. What I wished is that someone had talked about sadness and responsibility as well. Because, and here’s where I am tentative, I don’t think of abortion as an option to counter carelessness.

(To be clear, they did cover a number of important topics: reasons that a woman would need to have a late-term abortion, the horror that is illegal abortions and the complications that result, and the need for doctors who will support these women in their decisions, the need for clinics where they can be safely performed. All of these topics are extremely important.)

For her birthday six or seven years ago, I got my mom a book called Cunt. It had been recommended by an acquaintance as a good read for someone who loved the Vagina Monologues (as my mother did, at the time). I have never actually read this book, but talking with mom about it later she expressed some hesitation about the section of the book on natural birth control, because the woman in question had had two abortions when these methods failed. No method of birth control, ever, is infallible (after all, sex is what makes babies), but there are choices that one can make to avoid getting pregnant, and some are more reliable than others. Our bodies are responsibilities, what they can do is our responsibility.

By this I don’t mean that every egg fertilized should be carried to term, and I definitely do not mean that women having abortions are irresponsible. It is hard to write this without feeling like a journalist trying to present “both sides” of global warming. But I do experience a twinge when I see the words FREE and BEAUTIFUL next to ABORTION. Or maybe I want to see more words beside those first two. Is it possible to express hesitation without seeming to demean anyone else’s choice? Many people honestly do not know what they would do if they became pregnant tomorrow, either their own carelessness or by violence. I do not know what I would choose and I am utterly grateful that I am in a place where there are options open to me. Often, however, that discussion often does not go beyond the topic of access to abortions, rarely addressing what making the choice means. I wish that responding to the anti-abortion/pro-life movement could mean responding by acknowledging the how difficult such a decision is, not only defending the means.

Indulge me.
June 9, 2009, 7:43 pm
Filed under: music | Tags:

I feel like a fangirl for uploading two videos of The Mountain Goats in a short period of time, but I can’t stop liking this song. John Darnielle does fabulous things with (and for) the English language. I think that what I like most about him, however,  is that though the majority of his songs are not autobiographical, if there were an encyclopedia entry entitled “Sing it Like You Mean it”, you would find his name beside it.

Kait and I are roadtripping to Bellingham for a Gregory Alan Isakov concert this weekend! It will have to be a very quick trip, but go to his MySpace page and listen to That Moon Song. You’ll understand why we’re doing it.