beginningstoendings

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Month: May, 2012

The Interlude

Hello readers,

My sincerest apologies for not updating pages in the last few days.  I’ve been away from home for a bit and will resume updating when I return on the 2nd.  I hope all is well with you and thank you so much for reading.

page 35

There’s a sushi place downtown, Hurricana—best in town apparently, and it’s built to easily serve those going solo.  One thing that I’ve never had a problem doing is eating by myself.  I guess it comes naturally.  Anorexics have no idea what they’re missing.  The white-blue sky yields to the intensity of the sun and the nearly 30-degree heat.  In the subconscious gears of my mind an idea is in development that a beer would accompany my sushi better than green tea.  My conscious agrees.  The rickety splakka splak of the bus is only audible if you’re listening for it and I, the impatient youth, always am.  The sound comes and the bus that travels with it appears to be the complete physical embodiment of the noise it’s making.  Material onomatopoeia: it sounds the way it looks.

The bus is sparsely populated with Vancouverites, most of them slightly retarded I think, or almost crazy—silly hats and slept-in hair on some.  Most have slack jaws that vaguely mouth the names of the businesses we pass: Talia Designs, Primo’s, Eddy Vance Sportswear.  Their smell is that of a liquor-store stockroom: sour and cardboard-y.  Jesus, these people are just begging to be locked-up and institutionalized.  The bus driver also appears “off,” masking his one mildly lazy eye under the guise of a squint.  He smiles though, a rarity in Vancouver transit workers.  I don’t know if I do in return though.  The buildings we drive towards seem to rise directly out of the water that they are so closely built to, basking in the heated slant of the almost-summer sun.  Little bronze men, carved looking, young and strong, teeter along the wood planks and concrete of the growing buildings, the reflection of the sky in the oceanic glass cooking their skin into the finest, smoothest leather as cranes pirouette overhead.  It’d be easy for them to jump should they desire to do so.

page 34

My own works remain single and unloved.  I am solitary.  I am opting for a nap instead of hitting the gym.  Rest does my writing wonders and it might help to clear my skin.

pages 32 and 33

I mourn my poetry and my writing.  I think of the collection of words, rejected on the pages of my notebooks and journals, sick with melancholic sentences, weaving in and out of realism like blue yarn in a quilt a distant relative made.  Moreover I think of loneliness—how the words that I have labored over have come to embody what it is that I long for.  It’s a package seeking a destination and a loner finally searching for a social outlet.  My thoughts themselves are fragments of melodramatic prose.

I’ve started seeking out tales of misery.  I’m not sure exactly why.  Maybe just to give me some creative inspiration, or to give my own life experience (or lack thereof) some perspective.

There was an article that I read a few months back in the newspaper discussing a murder that was committed in Yaletown in a beautiful blue high-rise typical to the area—very exclusive.  A true event so wrought with obsession and romance that it spurred on my own writing of passionate affairs…for a time.  It was regarding a man living on his own in that exclusive complex: a one-bedroom suite, tastefully furnished, most likely not by him.  There were pictures on page 2.  His career was finally unfolding in a successful manner: a new position at an advertising agency in the downtown core, a recent promotion with a substantial raise and great benefits.  He could attend classy events, had a charge account and a company car.  Any Greek would tell you he was a man poised for tragedy.  Someone we’d love to see fail.  Enter the woman—three years his junior, Blackfoot, Japanese and Swedish descent, a graphic artist new to the agency and to the city.  She discussed many ideas with him, he helped her out in her first few weeks—they worked on different floors.  She asked him out for a drink, he had originally thought to decline (nib…company ink, etc etc), but accepted in the end.

Romance.

He discussed how he, walking home from work, would stop to pick up strawberries from an organic market: three plastic containers of them.  Arriving home he would pick through each container, selecting the reddest, most attractive berries, the remaining not-so-attractive berries would be saved for his cereal.  Washed in icy water and hulled, he placed the perfect red fruit in a porous metal bowl in the fridge.  She would arrive.  He would open white wine, something he “had kicking around.”  She would eat the strawberries, knowing that he’d selected the best (it was that obvious).  This, she would later tell him, “was very kind,” something she had appreciated and wouldn’t forget.  Their lovemaking was soft and wonderful, lasting through the night and into the morning.  Bed, kitchen, floor, living room.  They would explore both age-old methods and modern therapist tested ones and, upon waking, they would shower in his enormous terracotta tiled bathroom, candles would be lit everywhere.  The water droplets would form tiny mirrors refracting the candlelight and airbrushing away any impossibly small imperfections on her body.  He was blind to them from the beginning though.  He recalled the way the lukewarm water would give them goose bumps on their shoulders.  She loved him he thought.

Her lip-gloss was sweet, “shortbread” in flavor, lasting on his lips through their days at the office and he always resisted licking it off completely.  He wanted it to last the day.  This wasn’t meant to be forever.  He said she spoke of former lovers and he listened, his throat dry.  He would smile and try to not act jealous.  Deep down he knew that she had wanted him to be.  She told him about her romantic past, not really considering whether or not he wanted to know about it.  Then she stopped visiting his office at work, then his home.  The phone ringing was never her anymore, he would later tell reporters.  She would nod to him only in the office but never spoke, he would stand alone in the halls of the building, under the hum of the fluorescent lights as days relaxed into nights.  He wasn’t really waiting—just…hoping.  Some would call it hope.

“You can’t imagine,” he was quoted, “it’s impossible to describe to someone that dark feeling.”  She went missing.  Was found.  Stanley Park, half uncovered out of the shallow three-foot grave. His arrest publicized.  Deadly Romance, the papers read, Killed for Love, Crime of Passion.  He won’t do any more interviews—he’s already a celebrity of sorts.  All media footage shows him crying, his face grief-stricken, blotchy, uncovered.  Hands cuffed, orange coveralls, bloodshot eyes, downturn mouth.  The citizens of the city, his neighborhood, were furious with him.  I however, allow my heart to break for him, if only a little.  Every human needs that I think, even if it just proves to myself that I can be that evolved.

page 31

The ludicrous timing of the message did oddly cheer me up however because I love a little irony.  Maybe I’m bluffing?  I say out loud that it cheered me up, speaking up towards the ceiling of my apartment.   I don’t think I quite believe it myself.

This Dan Mc-whatever rejected the poetry in such a way as to try and not make me hate him—telling me that the work is good.  He did also essentially say that I was ugly.  Kill them with kindness I guess, never burn a bridge.  Who knows when they might be famous and you’ll have to call in the “favor” you did for them by being the first to reject their work and insult them outright.  You pushed them to work harder so they really owe their success to you.  Right?  I drink more water.  Evidently writers fall into two categories: the first is the ones who can actually write (Margaret Atwood and her buddies).  Their book jacket pictures always depict a moody, high contrast image of a bespectacled academic in a big sweater and scarf.  They usually look stern: furrowed brows heavy with the vast amount of knowledge they’ve accrued by studying obscure subject matter or sometimes (and this is usually the case for the women) they’re shown with a mischievous smile—they’re smarter than you and they know it.  The second category is all the hot authors like Lauren Weisberger and other former sorority girls—they’re borderline illiterate but well connected.  Their pictures are always bright, carefree and obnoxious and they always maintain that they want their writing to speak for itself and not be influenced by their image.  Sure.

Come to think of it, FoundationCreative has more in common with reality T.V than it does to literature.  The artists who make love on canvas, and model in their spare time get written up in Vancouver Magazine with exclusive photos.  The writers discuss in detail their disdain for the war, how Buddhism has changed their lives and given them smaller pores and their discovery of the beautifying benefits of tantric sex.  I read an in-depth interview in the Headhunter.  The FoundationCreative roster is definitely news worthy and admittedly easy on the eyes.

pages 29 and 30

Outside the rain has picked up even more—the puddles already immense at the corners of each sidewalk.  SmartCars, Audis and Minis zip past, ushering shoppers to their new debt inducing locations.

Scurry, scurry.

I deploy the chute of my umbrella and stand momentarily in the downpour—my pants getting drenched from the back spray off the street.  I feel like a minor character my own book.

I somehow let you play the lead and didn’t even know.

***

I come back to my apartment, my little home, my hardwood haven.  Kate Bush playing in my C.D player.  I had a craving for her after the re-mixing I heard last night.  Corny yes, but well written, much like my own…positive thoughts only.  I check the little mirror in my bathroom.  My face is hilarious.

If I only could make a deal with God

I decide to conquer my hideousness one glass of water at a time and start chugging from a refilled 1.5 litre Evian water bottle.  Perhaps every hour on the hour I’ll repeat this and see if I can drown my acne.  And good lord, my hair is even worse.  I worry about this too much.  Beauty they say is from the inside out.  Think beautiful, be beautiful.  Be beautiful.  Maybe it helps that I’m smart…sort of.  A good personality can disguise a dumb face, stupid hair, flat chest, skinny legs and a crooked grin.  And whoever told me that should be shot.  I should have started to save my money from the very start.  Buy my way into good looking.  Tori Spelling did it, and it worked…some would say it worked.  Most of them are other celebrities.  Buy a new nose, cut out your crooked teeth, stick your ass in your lips, get daily facials and monthly manicures, and take lessons for speech and etiquette.  Exercise.

Get him to swap Our Places

I notice that the light on my answering machine is flashing and I check my voice mail.  Hey there, you’ve reached Katharine Henry’s residence.  To your dismay I’m out or unable to come to the phone.  Leave your name and number and I’ll call you back whenever possible.  Thanks.

Beeek

“Hello this is a message for Katharine Henry.  Katharine, this is Dan McKarvey calling from FoundationCreative.  We want to thank you for your submission but…Uhm, we have a great degree of publicity involved with the promotion of our authors, poets and artists.  We do a lot of showings, openings and signings, more than most publishing houses…you get the idea.  Your poems are quite lovely, but at this time, with the showcasing we’ve been trying to so of young, fresh and sexy talent I am afraid we will be unable to represent your work at this time.  Best of luck however and as I said your poetry is edgy and I look forward to reading it in a publication.”

I hang up the phone crookedly in the receiver.  At this point I would have to re-examine why I sent the man called Dan any of my work.  It’s almost too fitting for the day because of the farce that occurred earlier.  I already feel defeated but now this: get rejected not for a lack of talent but for…well.  So close and yet so very, very far.  It’s like being in the middle of the ocean, stranded and someone throws you a lifesaver but the lifesaver is lead weighted and pulls you down further.

It feels like that.

page 28

“Books.  You’ve heard of Dimension Apart?”

“Yep.”  I’m actually trying not to soil my own undergarments.  There’s an intestinal tango going on inside me as my nerves feel like they’ve suddenly just been plugged in.  D.A published some of my favorite authors: Hammil, Suris, MacDougal.  I pretend to drink coffee calmly—my lips barely touching the bitter, lukewarm liquid.   I am trying to play it cool.  I am trying to convince him I’m woman of the year and not an unaccomplished, illiterate poet.  No.  No I’m not.  I am quite obviously a student who looks out of place amongst the glitterati at Horoscope café with an 8-dollar muffin and coffee combo talking to the Grande publisher of DimensionApart.  “I’ve read a few of the books you published.”  I offer the statement, knowing full well he doesn’t believe my supreme understatement.  D.A is international and everyone has read something they’ve published.

“Many have.”  He says.  It’s a smug comment, definitely and recognizing that this conversation can only devolve, I opt for an exit.

“I had actually better go Mr. Jamus, it was a pleasure meeting you.”  I grab the last of my muffin and pull on my sweater-jacket.  Umbrella ready, I give him a stupid little wave.  He waves back and returns to his coffee.

Asshole.

page 27

“I know how you feel.  I get Pa-Jamus a lot.  Nothing conjures quite as sexy an image as flannel sleepwear.  Sometimes I get PJ too, which I think might be the name of one of the Little Rascals.  Well you’re certainly creative, which is essential when introducing yourself.  I definitely won’t forget your name if we meet again.” He says.  I feel like he may have just given me a compliment but I don’t celebrate too early to err on the safe side.

“What is it that you do Pajamas?”  I ask him, hoping that my little jest at his name comes off as cute and confident rather than annoyingly over familiar.

“I’m in publishing.”  He smiles deviously and takes another sip of coffee.  The look of utter self-satisfaction is rank all across his face.  He knows exactly what he has just done to my psyche now that I’ve confessed my desire for a writing career and spouted bad poetry at him.  I turn away and bite into my muffin again without delicately breaking off a piece because somehow I feel offended and I’m sure he as a good idea as to why.  ‘He could be being honest,’ I think as I flip into a little daydream.  I picture this man named Pajamas as a pair of long, plaid underwear with a buttoned-up ass burrowed away in an office pumping out books on sleepwear and undergarments.  I chuckle.

“What sorts of things do you publish Pajamas?”  I ask him, hoping that he says he works for a scientific journal or another rag that’s equally dull and removed from my own writing.

page 26

“I try to.”

“Just try?”

“I do, write that is.  Nothing publishable yet.”

“How old are you?”

“23.”

“In school?

“Unfortunately yes.  Hence the insatiable desire to get something published and drop out.”

“I see.”  The man is sipping his now crema-free coffee (he drinks it black I see, how mysterious) and squints into the sunless streets.  The drizzle exchanges itself with a much heavier rain and the traffic is now picking up.  Scurry scurry little Vancouverites, scurry.  Eat your organic veggies, get to your spinning classes, your pottery lectures and your galleries.  “What’s your name?”  It was the man again, somehow I had forgotten that we were mid-conversation.

“Kate…therine.”  I extend my hand for a shake as I trip a little over my words.  He takes my hand in his, the back of which is covered in freckles.

“Pleased to meet you Kate-therine, I’m Patrick Jamus.”  I couldn’t decide whether I thought his sardonic tone was charming or rude but I decided to follow up the hesitation I had about my name anyway in an effort to not sound like a total idiot.

“I normally prefer Katharine.  Kate is very casual and I hardly know you, and Katie is what you call a rag-doll or a redheaded six-year-old.  Or if I went the Kathy route I’d be an obese lesbian or a politician’s wife with big round hair and I’d have to be addicted to prescription meds.”  This makes him smile and he sips from his coffee as though he was whispering the mug’s brim a question.

page 25

“I’m so sorry.  I was thinking out loud of something I’m sort-of writing.  Please sit.”  I move my knitted sweater-jacket and the medium height, medium build, handsome John Doe puts his coffee on the bar counter.  “I tend to zone out on weekends.  Again I’m sorry.”

“It’s really no problem, it happens to the best of us.”  A statement that I assume he makes referring to himself.  He says this while taking a sip of an Americano and some of the crema (how cool am I for knowing what it is?) clings to his top lip, he licks, and I return to staring out the window.  The low-lying clouds dissolve once more into a drizzle, reaching like clammy tree branches down onto glass-skinned Vancouver.  The droplets speckle the window, and water coats the saturated concrete of Horoscope’s “patio” with another application of gloss.  My coffee steams the bottom of my chin as I stuff buttered Urban Apple/Spice into my mouth.  Healthy muffin my ass.

“You write?”  The stranger is asking me a question.  I’m totally unprepared and the wad of muffin I’m chewing has mixed with saliva and it’s now far too large to swallow suavely and not choke and die on.  I try to chew fast to answer and attempt a sip of coffee to speed the breakdown process, bad move.  The bolus has begun to congeal in the back of my throat—I try everything possible to stifle my gag reflex.  I choke. Images of me spewing expensive baked good and coffee sludge over the window and the handsome gentleman dart through my brain.  Damn Vancouver and its alternative grains that are indigestible.

I recover…luckily.