Han Solo

January 29, 2008

Inspired by Vila’s ode, my own Han Solo story:

I was with a guy who held Han as an idol, barely a half-step behind Indiana Jones.
He called one (middle of the) night from the pay phone across the street, audibly a wreck. He’d just gotten off a bus from Toronto, responding to a call from an ER to come see his mother – she’d tried to commit suicide and left a note blaming him and his father. Such was their relationship: his emotional exhaustion with her harrowing melodrama. It was the start of spring – which was much more temperate there – and we sat on my porch until long after the sun came up. The conversation was fitful, especially for us; I didn’t know what to say, and he didn’t know where to start. Somewhere in there, he told me (for the first time) that he loved me. “I know,” I said, and he finally smiled. Months later, on one of the last nights before I moved to Montreal, I said (for the first time) “I love you.” “I know,” he replied.

And that is how it often was – adumbrated by words written elsewhere, ones which we rescripted. We aren’t in touch any more; that part will remain an untold story. I still love him (albeit in that abstract, burned-bridges way)… I sometimes wonder if he still knows.

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About Alice

January 20, 2008

I have held off posting about Alice. Given the last time I tried this, it seemed prudent. It’s been almost a week without a snag (read: freak-out), so here I go.
I have a new dog. Her name is Alice. She is 4 ½ years old, part yellow lab and part basset hound*, meaning she’s a little longer and more tubular than most labs, with stubby quick legs. As I had pointed out to me, she’s a lab low-rider.
Alice’s hobbies so far include sleeping, angling for treats, napping, stretching, angling for treats, hogging the couch, making you rub her belly, and angling for treats. She refuses to play fetch, likes to shove herself through the snow head-first and ass-up, and every so often lays a smack-down on one of her many toys.
We get along well, as I also enjoy napping, treats, and sitting on the couch. I’m pleased. It still feels like those first few weeks with a new roommate – things are convivial, but not yet comfortable. I don’t really know who she is, which isn’t to say that I suspect her of having hidden terrible traits, just that I haven’t deciphered her noises, her gestures, her habits. It’s nice, though, to have this kind of company again. Someone to walk with, to direct my general nattering at, to just be – in the other room, on the other half of the couch, at the foot of the bed. The house feels more full – with someone who will never pick up after herself, sure, but who will also always be happy to see me (and who loves to cuddle). Which is exactly what I wanted.

*Update: I have learned that such creatures are called bassadors. A dog with her own neologism!

My favourite (not to be confused with IMO best) albums, alphabetically by artist:
Untrue – Burial
Sound of Silver – LCD Soundsystem
Kala – M.I.A.
Boxer – The National
In Rainbows – Radiohead

Contenders:
The Reminder – Feist
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – Spoon
In Our Bedroom After The War – Stars

Kinda bored by, after awhile:
Neon Bible – Arcade Fire
Our Love To Admire – Interpol

I heart teaching.

January 11, 2008

And so the first week back to school is over, at least in the technical sense.  I’m still fielding emails from potential students (“Can you email me the syllabus?” “I don’t have the pre-requisite, can you let me in anyway?” “Do I have to go to all the classes?”), but I’ve made it through both the first lecture and the first screening without incident.  It’s like riding a bike, and not just because this is a course I’ve taught twice already, and not just because I’m in the same classroom as last year and so it feels like I never left.  I have some repeat business – students I’ve had in other classes over the past three years – which is always gratifying.  And I’ve had a handful come up to me telling me their friends are in the class, that it sounds great, and they’d like to join.  I’ve known for a long time that this is why I stuck with academia – not to write a monumental, field-shifting work (which I will), not to spend weeks in a delirious theory haze (which is its own kind of fun), but to teach.  To stand at the front of a room and elucidate a train of thought, or sometimes watch it derail.  That old saying, that “Those who can: do, and those who can’t: teach,” is grossly misleading.  I work hard at it, it’s one of the most motivating challenges to my own habits of thought and creativity, and it’s got rewards unlike any other job.
And tomorrow I have a date with a dog.  Maybe we’ll hit it off.  Fingers crossed.

2007 (abridged)

January 4, 2008

Big deaths and little deaths. False starts; strides. Early mornings, for months on end. Blackouts. Blame. Butterflies. Leave-takings, hang-ups. Blank pages filled, and filled pages edited. A grant. A move. A washer and a dryer. Stir-craziness, long solitary runs, the neighbours’ welcome and overly familiar cats.
Learned: How to grin and say ‘hangover’ in French. That there are idealized versions of ‘woman’ I do not embody, and I do not need to apologize for that. Shin splints are painful. I want another dog.
Resolutions: Nah.