Friday, January 28, 2011

Pleasure Reading

I went into Chapters today to buy a book for a friend, and while there I stopped at the discounted fiction table. Pretty much any time I see a novel published by Harper Perennial sitting on that $5 table, I buy it. I've had great experiences with that little olive - I see it and I think "smart and enjoyable."

So anyways, In a Perfect World, by Laura Kasischke, was sitting there. I'm not sure what the rules say about reading the backs of books, but given that I invented them, I decided to see what the book was about. It sounded interesting. So I opened it. I'm pretty sure the rules say that reading the inside of books isn't allowed. I really, honestly could not help myself. 

It has been so long since I've read anything other than film criticism and recipes. Over three weeks. It feels like a lifetime. 

I read the first line. And then the second. 

It was like I was inside an awful romance novel, what with the frissons of pleasure that were actually, literally, running up and down my spine. I am so ready to read novels again. So so so ready. I'm off to Montreal tomorrow for a whirlwind reunion three of my beloved Halifax ladies. 29 hours in the city, with a 5 hour train ride on either end. What happens on the train stays on the train? 

As far as the actual fasting part of my culture fast (I keep changing what I call it) - it's going well. I've managed to wake up an hour early every morning, so that I can spend an hour writing before I go to work. I don't think I can fully express how wonderful it feels to make the time to find that connection every day. I also went to a hot yoga class for the first time in months. It kicked my ass, but was also great. I've been meditating lots, and cooking lots, and talking lots, and thinking lots.

Oh yeah - it was my birthday yesterday. I cheated on my no restaurants rule (I decided that there are no rules on one's birthday) and went out for chinese food and frozen custard. It was a lovely day. I love birthdays.

Happy weekend. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011


What's shocking is how little "free time" I actually have. When I started this whole cultural fast I'm on I figured that I would spend a lot of time staring around until I decided on something to fill my time - I've been completely surprised to find out how infrequently this is the case.

Instead I'm realizing how much I usually do double duty - I would cook dinner while watching an episode of a TV show, or surf the Internet (do people still call it that? It sounds so stodgy and somehow old-fashioned) while talking to my roommate. For the past two weeks I've been spending a lot more time focusing on one thing at a time. I think about what to make for dinner, experiment and make things from scratch more, spend more time cleaning up... I spent an hour reorganizing my clothes today. It was great.

I've been trying to wake up early so that I can spend some time writing every morning. I've managed it every day this week. I get up and get dressed as quickly as possible, then stop in a coffee shop somewhere to write for twenty or thirty minutes before I go to work. It's really nice - and I want to keep this up. It will be really nice once I have more space so that I don't need to leave the house - I'll be able to get up and make myself a cup of tea and sit and write.

Speaking of more space, Sally and I are trying to draw the perfect apartment to us. We almost had a place a few months ago, but it fell through when the owner's friends wanted it. The night before we found out we didn't get it, Sally had a dream that we were moving into the perfect apartment, so my sadness was tempered by lots and lots of hope. One of my projects this month is putting together vision boards for our place.

Here's my inspiration for our perfect living room:

And our kitchen:

Sigh - I'm so looking forward to it.

In other news I'm trying to fill my days at work with connection and fun. If I'm going to be there every day I want to be enjoying myself, so I've taken it upon myself to figure out how to do that.

Hope your January is going well and you're finding ways to beat the January Blahs. If you need some inspiration I vote you try to make this absolutely amazing sounding Pistachio Olive Oil Cake, which I've included up there in my vision of the perfect kitchen (from design*sponge - which is where most of the images in the two vision boards are from).

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Yesterday, on the subway home, there were two Russian women, and for a few minutes I wondered whether they were engaged in some kind of subtle performance. Art. (that is how I typed that, instead of performance art - I'm leaving it in case it's meaningful) They had big bouffants held up with rhinestone covered clips, and they were both wearing fur coats. One of the women carried a large leather Betty Boop purse, also covered in rhinestones, and the other held a snakeskin bag. They were wonderful.

I've cheated, a little bit. Usually it's by accident - I'll be engaged in some kind of sanctioned googling (how to make calamari) and realize after a couple of moments that I've been sidetracked by someone's blog or article. Whoops. But yesterday, it was kind of... on purpose.

I've been thinking a lot about meditation, and so I've found a few guided meditations for falling asleep online (this feels like it should be allowed, so I'm allowing it. As long as I don't sit there listening to guided meditations from the time I get home to the time I fall asleep). The other day I came across this woman talking about meditating for pineal gland activation, and she linked to the 2012 Enigma by David Wilcock, and I just couldn't stop myself from going and watching the video last night. All 90 some-odd minutes of it. It's all about time travel and what's going to happen in 2012 and aliens and Egypt and Stargate and and and. I love conspiracy theories. Yes it's ridiculous and no I'm not committed to believing any of it, but it's so fun to think about.

And watching it gave me some ideas for a project I've been thinking about, so now the key is to go make them into something. 

Today I'm meeting Sally at the coffee shop for a study date. It's snowing out.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I've got the shakes.

Not really, but I woke up sick this morning. I think I'm going through withdrawal.

I honestly think I am addicted to all of those things I'm currently giving up, in a way. I'm pretty sure they diminish my overall quality of life, but like any addict, I'm simultaneously convinced they make it better. I just can't imagine my life - any life - without books, or movies, or great TV shows. But especially books. But consumed in the quantities I typically imbibe, they can also become a kind of toxin.

I stayed home today, wrote a few pages of stuff that turned into a scene from a screenplay (the other night as we were having random almost drifting to sleep conversations Jessica said, "You should put this conversation into a romantic comedy screenplay. Or a Sofia Coppola-esque movie." My response: "I'm pretty sure any movie I write will be a Sofia Coppola/romantic comedy hybrid."), did some research for an essay I'm writing on I Am Love (the one film I'm allowed to watch. And read about. Like how I fit that in there?), napped, talked with Sally about how awesome our apartment is going to be, talked about how great our days are going to be tomorrow, and, now, blogged. And boiled eggs to take to work for lunches.

Overall things are going fine. I get frustrated, because sometimes it feels like I will do this for a month and have nothing to show for it. I get impatient with myself, and want for everything to come together all at once, like magic. I want the muse to show up and result in a fit of inspiration and productivity, rather than these sort of half ideas that I have to try to fit into something cohesive and hopefully beautiful. But all I really want from this experience is to get into the habit of making things, so that later on I can achieve some kind of balance.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting excited and making things

Lately my mantra has been something more along the lines of: Relax and watch TV. I hung this poster next to my desk at work, but every day when I leave work I'm thinking something along the lines of "I can't wait to go home and watch (insert latest TV show obsession here - lately it's been the Good Wife)." Or I get out from in front of one computer and sit in front of another, losing countless hours to the wonders of the Internet. And I love the Internet, you know I do, but sometimes you just need to get out and do something. 

I brought a few of my books home from Vancouver with me, notably The War of Art. My friend Claire recommended this book to me a couple of summers ago, when I was back in Vancouver feeling bored and lethargic, unable to do the things I wanted to do. Mostly, write. I've always wanted to write. I've always written, actually - and still do: blogs, journals, random notes on the world. But only very rarely do I turn these notes into formal... creations. So I brought this book all about conquering your inner creative demon - resistance - back with me, and on Thursday morning I tucked it into my bag to read on the streetcar on the way to work. 

When I pulled the book out of my bag, I realized something: reading about being creative is not the solution. If anything, reading about being creative is part of the problem. I've spent a long time claiming that every creator needs a fallow period, and that all of the consuming that I've been doing - the movie marathons and stacks of books and meandering paths through the Internets - has been so that ultimately I will reach a point of glorious creativity. That I will fill up the cup of my life until finally it overflows, and all of the ideas I've had will rush out, so many perfectly formed stories and screenplays and novels and songs. That eventually I will dance around huge green fields with rainbows (yes, multiple rainbows) in the sky and streams of creation shooting from my fingertips like Jubilee's fireworks.

I think I've been deluding myself. 

I think that in order to create great things you might actually need to... try. 

So I'm going to do something radical.

I'm going to try. I'm not giving myself a choice. I'm cutting out everything else I would otherwise be doing.

No TV. No movies. No books. No Internet (well, little bits of Internet. For specific things. Like how to cook basmati rice. But no doodling around the Internet for hours like I usually do). And no restaurants. Because I'm tired of consuming, and I want to spend some time creating. I'm allowed to do anything active - write, draw, play games, sing, dance, cook, talk... I'm still debating as to whether doing crosswords is allowed. We'll see how desperate I get.

Oh - listening to music is allowed. Because it doesn't feel the same.

I decided all of this on Thursday morning, in a burst of what some might call inspiration and others might call folly. It's not something I spent much time thinking about, and if I had I might have decided against the idea. When I got home from work that night I looked around, feeling a little bit lost. I cleaned the apartment. I made dinner. I fell asleep waiting for my roommate to get home from Vancouver late that night, because I didn't have anything to occupy my attention.

I'm on day three of my experiment. I don't think the depth of it has hit me. I have noticed that I take more time with the things I do, and that I'm listening to my body a little bit more. 

I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I'm going to fill my days. So far I'm planning on learning how to shuffle cards properly, doing some gluten free baking (this life diet coincides with a post-Vancouver/Christmas detox), writing, finding a new craft to try, having band practices with Sally, making a stop motion fashion film, writing some haiku, and all kinds of exciting things. I'll probably blog about it (because blogging is allowed - yay). I'm currently in the hopeful, sort of excited stage, which is interspersed with moments of bewilderment.

Many moments of bewilderment. 


Email me at thenewisthetrue (at) gmail .com
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Toronto, Canada
I think I might be addicted to books. And noodles. I need the ocean. I want to know everything. Almost. I love love. And loving things. Like love. And like.