Monday, July 14, 2003

giant animatronic heart*

Oh give me a break. So I'm soothed by "21 Questions". I know he's as processed as cheez whiz, but that line about a fat kid loving cake...and that pre-fab gangsta image! It really does something for me. Ha. I like the song, and that's the end of it.

This is funny because it's true. Or is it the other way around? In any case, isn't Chicago the capital of Illinois?

Eric Hoffer is someone I'd like to get to know more of. He said this: "We run fastest and farthest when we run from ourselves." Here's more: "Language was invented to ask questions. Answers may be given by grunts and gestures, but questions must be spoken. Humanness came of age when man asked the first question. Social stagnation results not from a lack of answers but from the absence of the impulse to ask questions."


Summer churns along, and Cape Breton, even with all its issues, politics and history, becomes more and more idyllic. The green that I arrived to (a pasty lime color) has grown and turned to a deeper shade, one you can get lost it, one that you want to watch rain fall on. The mountains are smaller here, yes, but there is so much beauty here to see, things in the small places (beaches, tidal pools, aspen leaves) and the weird and wonderful (Cape Clear, that really cold spot in the rocks, Meat Cove), that it doesn't matter. There is enough to keep me busy for a lifetime here, and while I love that, it also scares me. Thinking about my future in any context (or in any place) is scary, and here's why: I'm beginning to make longer-term decisions. No longer just concerned with what I'll be eating this summer or who I will pay rent to, things on my mind now include where I will go to school, what I might do after, what my position on having children is. Commitment is scary, and I'm committing to myself and to ideas.

This is what my life is like here, as far as I can tell as I'm still living it and not yet concerned with hindsight: I have an hour and a half roughly, in the morning, to wake up, to go outside into the little yard, in my bare feet, to see the sunshine. I might stretch, and then I go in and eat food. A little later on I ride my bike 5 minutes mostly downhill to the pottery shop, unlock the door, do all the opening procedures. The building is high-ceilinged and filled with pretty pots, and I sweep up yesterday's dust and decide on the day. Words that I might encounter on my to-do list: wedge, glaze, wax, load/unload kiln, extrude, clean, apartment, paint well I talk to a lot of people over the age of 30 who are often from Ontario, and who want to know the answers to the following questions...

(1) Why are the pots all green?
(2) What does Shape Shift mean?
(3) What is raku?
(4) What do you do in the winter? which I give the answers tirelessly, day after day. (If you want to know the answers, come to the shop disguised as a 40-year old woman from Ontario, and then we'll talk.)

On or around 5 PM, I do the opposite of opening and then get on my bike and go. Sometimes it's to the boys' place to swim in the 4 and 1/2 star swimming hole (Yukon Paul and I have discussed this, and it would need a rope to swing on to get that extra half star); sometimes it's to go home. This is the second and harder way to get to the swimming hole: cross the road, hold sarong at knee-level, go through the fields below my house, Cathy Kerr's fields that will soon be mowed. At the moment they are filled with grasses, daisies, purple clover, yarrow, and other meadow flowers I don't know the names of, and of course bug spit that gets all in my sandles, in between my toes. Then you cross the river, walking carefully over slippery rocks, and swim in the deep part.

I've been reading some things, like Vogue, Speakeasy, library books, my own old journal, letters from friends, newspaper articles as I'm laying the paper down for one pottery reason or another. I haven't been writing enough, but I will start. I've been tanning some, but unevenly and guilt-ridden, so my tan line is lopsided and light. I've been dancing lots, in the shop when no-one is around, in the driveway, in bars. I haven't been drinking nearly as much, although the other night after several other mixed drinks chugged my portion of a jug of draft beer (thanks Jack!) and got well wasted, which was nice but not something I want to do all the time like previously. I like my liver.

And that's me in North River these days. Of course there's more to it than all that, but this gives an overview and is nice for people who want to know.


I woke up at 5 AM today, and we drove through North River, while in all the little houses behind all the little trees Cape Bretoners slept. Mist filled the river valley and rose off the harbour. Lobster boats were already out on the ocean, to them we'd slept late. The truck zoomed over the cracked and heaved road, and I rubbed my eyes to stop them from itching, or crying. It didn't matter which. Later on, crawling into Mum's bed, she read this to me:

So, when the shoe fits
the foot is forgotten

when the belt fits
the belly is forgotten

when the heart is right
"for" and "against" are forgotten.

I blew my nose and let her comfort me, and I've already said too much.

We're expecting guests later, for our annual Mexican lasagna dinner. The first one got me high, it was so hot. This one should be nice, on a day off, with old friends.

*Go here if you really want to know.

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