Monthly Archives: October 2010

be still my beating heart

oh not really.  wouldn’t that be the dreaded alternative we’re always reminded of on our birthdays?  and how do i always end up starting blog posts with non-sequiturs?

oh dear.  where i was going with that was, omg two posts in one month!  be still my beating heart!

ok focus!

i’m in montreal right now, and i thought i’d write about it.  the storm from hell has been raging all day, which means your correspondent was bedraggled and wet before the day even got started, and my resemblance to ‘something the cat dragged in’ got stronger and stronger all day.  no one seemed to mind though.

i’m really impressed with this city.  we’re staying in the gay village [village gai] in a ridiculously gay guesthouse.  the guy who runs it looks like he’s a cross between an aging hipster dude and some guy from a 70s porno.  hilarious.  he smokes, so the place smells like smoke, which thankfully doesn’t really bother either M or me.  there are big windows that look out over the street, and it’s right in the thick of things.  ‘breakfast’ consists of coffee served on the proprietor’s countertop — i think he doesn’t do anything but run this place, and spends most of his time sitting in his living room watching tv.  he asked me in to drink my coffee at his table this morning.  i was worried it was/would be creepy, but actually we just talked about the city and what things are good.  i’m surprised by how laid back this experience is.

then i set out into the city and walked the mile to downtown.  in the pouring blowing rain.  i KNOW i could have gotten on the metro which is literally 200 feet from the inn.  I KNOW.  but then i wouldn’t have gotten to see the streets, how the city fits together, the shops that are the same and different from the US.  so, soaking wet, i finally ended up at the art museum, because i can never resist a good decorative arts gallery.  i looked at some art and then sat in the museum cafe and drank coffee and had a brioche cannelle aux raisins, which is french for the BEST PASTRY EVER (actually, it’s french for ‘raisin-cinnamon bun’).  the gift shop was also amazing.  it kindled all my dormant materialist desires, and inspired me to go home and use my vast fibre arts training to make myself cute things to wear.

i step away from the sparkly accessories, remind myself that i can go shopping when i get a proper job, and move on to more art.  i exhaust the museum and face the harsh reality that i a) have no dinner, b) have to get home through the hideous rain some how and c) if i go back to the inn at that moment i will feel like i wasted a whole day in montreal doing nothing.  so i set off for the atwater market, which is a huge conglomeration of cheese shops, produce stands, butcher shops, and a massive patisserie to top it off.  i drooled over everything (making lots of friends in the process) while selecting what i was having for dinner and conducted two out of four transactions entirely in french, which made me feel amazing.  once upon a time i was on my way to having french as a real second language, but disuse has buried it into the deepest recesses of my brain.  i’m in the awkward phase now where i figure out what they said several minutes after the transaction is over.

tonight M is stuck in a big conference dinner, which i am not totally clear on why i am not able to attend (isn’t that something that people do — they bring their spouses to conference dinners?  or was that just my dad?  i have a distinct memory of sitting in a hotel room in belgium at the tender age of 11 while my parents were at the big HP conference dinner.  but whatever, it means i have time to write to you all), but afterward we are planning to stop by the women’s bar across the street from us.  can you believe it?  montreal has a gigantic women’s bar.  wtf is wrong with boston??

oh yeah, to continue the food narrative…i bought some cheese, cider, and strawberries (all quebecois!) for my dinner.  i also had a funny conversation with the produce guy about ground cherries — everyone was selling big buckets of them, and i finally asked what it was, and he laughed and gave me one to try.  this was one of my all-french interactions, so i was really pleased.  i liked it but i felt like it needed cooking so i got strawberries instead.  but now that i’ve done a little more research, i’m tempted to get a big bucket of them on our way home & make a ground cherry pie!

another thing i’ve noticed is that older women are more stylish here than in most of the US.  i walked into a store that looked (to my eye) like an upscale, hip boutique, and i realized as i was walking around loving the stuff they had for sale that all of the other clientele were well past 50.  i passed a woman of about 60 on the street and couldn’t stop staring at her awesome studded leather jacket.  she wasn’t an aging punk — she appeared to be a proper modish middle class lady.  it’s just that her jacket was really cool.  i feel like that’s largely unheard of in the US, at least in boston…

and so, dear readers, this comes to an end, because i think my bedraggled glamorousness needs to take a nap.  i’m on vacation.  and people who are on vacation get to nap, or so i’ve heard…



omg it’s totally october.

hi everyone.  it’s been…a month.  i’ve written lots and lots of stuff, been to new york and back, been to washington dc and back, and am off to montreal in a hot minute…but i haven’t been here.

well i’ve been here in my head, thinking about things i want to write and tell you, thinking about things i could say about my life, or the weather, or i could write more about my feelings about apples, or i could write about how it’s almost pomegranate season.  or i could write about how i was struggling with hard emotions last week, and every week.  and so i don’t write at all.  i’d rather cuddle with you.  or sit on the couch side by side as we surf the web randomly and point out funny pictures or read snippets of interesting articles to each other, being irritated a little because it’s distracting but liking the camraderie of the moment.  i’d rather take a walk in the mist with you and talk about your life and my life and the intersection of race and poverty and gender and sexuality.  i’d rather watch a movie with you in a dark theatre with a big bucket of popcorn with real butter.  i’d rather cook you dinner.

given that i’ve never met most of you, and the ones i’ve met mostly don’t live nearby, these things won’t happen tonight.  so i’m writing something down to say hello and remind myself that i exist in this space, that this space exists for me.  i told M today that i would consider moving to nowheresville [she is sending off job applications, and i dread the interview request issuing from the middle of nowhere the country] if she sets me up in a lovely house with a studio so i can be a writer.

i surprise myself with my audacity.  i’m not a writer, i’m a 32 yr old with a lot of angst and delusions of grandeur.  but i’d like to be a writer, in an airy studio with floor to ceiling windows covered in white gauze curtains, overlooking rolling greenness with a misty pond in the distance.  maybe a neighbor will have a picturesque horse who hangs her head over a fence and takes apples from me when i’m out for my afternoon yoga walk.  i suppose i could let my hair grow, and be a hippie femme with flowing garments and a pagan stone circle out in those fields…or i could keep my shorter hair and my urbanness, always on the edge of out of place…

but my life always intrudes, there’s always something pressing to do.  organizing that has to happen.  work to be done.  a paycheck to be gotten.  groceries to buy, relationship to process and clarify and sustain, friendships that need love, cats that need feeding.  writing isn’t prioritized — it rips itself out of me when i’m distressed, as a tool of clarification.  rarely do i give it my full attention.  it is there for me when i need it, but not when i want it.  i sit sometimes in the time allotted to ‘write’ and look over my blank page at whatever pretty view i’ve arranged for myself, lost in the moment and disconnected from the words in my head.

sometimes the world intrudes too.  i wrote a post but i put it on facebook, because i thought it would reach more people that way.  i posted it to my friends and networks, instead of just my usual circumscribed list of people who i actually like.  i wrote about how too many young people are dying, and it’s our fault.  that we are responsible for their deaths and should be actively working to prevent them.  it was meant as a guilt trip, but the only feedback i got was people who do so much already thanking me for posting it.  with the lone exception of my little sister, who is the best and strongest straight ally i know, who said she would try to do better.  i want her to do that.  but what i really want is the straight and clueless assholes who share this world with me to get going and make it safer for me.  because if it’s safer for me it will be safer for the beautiful young people who would rather die than face this homophobic horror movie.  and i miss each and every one of them.  it is breaking my heart.

coming out day is coming up.  i’ll try to write my usual plug for coming out.  in solidarity with queer youth in general, check out the blog at and consider sending in a message of solidarity.  i’m working on mine now.  and write to me.  hold me accountable for writing to you.  i miss you.