Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Cold Winter Wind

This is one of my favorite pieces I wrote, the first one that I really spent a lot of time on, although I still feel it's not quite right. I'm constantly coming back to it to edit, change, etc. But that's the thing about writers, or even potential ones: they're their greatest critics and will always go back to something they wrote that they really like to "fix".

"The Cold Winter Wind"

When I wake up I notice it’s another cold day. The wind is blowing its cold intentions across the city, turning the snow into little knives that cut down to the bone, and I find warmth on a train looking out the window. Surprisingly, it’s quiet; the only sounds that can be heard are the trundles of the trains running up and down their tracks and people walk briskly towards their destinations bundled up in their armour of winter jackets, toques, and gloves, while they complain that this city is too cold during the winter, and wish for summer to come. When summer comes they complain that this city is too hot, and wish for winter; they never get what they want. Rushing and rushing from one place to another, they hunger for that something else that their homes can provide.

Or maybe there’s something more that they want. Rather than the warmth of a house, they prefer the warmth of friends or lovers—the warmth of people close to them. Maybe they leave this cold city for a world inside a book, written for the express purpose of delicious disassociation. Or maybe they leave this place all together for somewhere warm, somewhere where people and relationships are fleeting.

It’s always interesting to watch these people, with their jackets, toques, and gloves; they always give the air of delirious desperation. They can teach a person a valuable lesson. But how many lessons are there to be learned in the cold wind blowing its cold intentions across the city? Intentions? What intentions? Dress up, be warm, so that you can slow your situation down and enjoy this life that is so cold? Dress up, be comfortable, so that you can quickly run through the snow to the warmth that your friends and lovers can provide? What a paradox; slow down, speed up, complain, want, and wish. Winter is a great season to watch people—they can teach you so much.

So the city in the weather is really cold. What I mean to say is, weather is a cold city. What I mean to say is winter is a season when nothing makes sense. Colours blend, blemish, and blush together till everything is grey and you can’t tell white from black anymore; Mike’s, Jon’s and Ben’s become “Hey”, Jessica’s Stephanie’s and Michelle’s become “you”, up becomes right, right becomes west, south becomes north, and left becomes something else entirely. Is there any point to knowing this many people or doing so many things? Or maybe knowing so many people and doing so many things is the point itself? Who’s to say, there has to be a point, hasn’t there? Otherwise, it’s all pointless anyway.

And now it’s night. The house is silent, but not, and the cold is left outside while the bubbles from the fish tank gurgle and giggle their merry tempo through the floors of the house, and the cats can be heard from time to time roaming around the open rooms. A board creaks, stirring a person oh-so-slightly from their sleep, just for them to mumble something incoherent, while they venture back deeper into the halls of dreams.

I myself stay up, listening to all these noises, wondering what the house could be trying to tell me. There are no days from long ago for this place; it was built very recently, my sister and her husband are in fact the first owners; there are no ghosts to come by the bed-frames to chill their master’s cheeks, no ghouls to glide into their dreams.

So what, then, is the house trying to tell me? “Stop what you are doing young man, and clean that room of mine that you’re so obliged to live in! Stop young man, and clear that room that is your realm!” Or, to say that the room is clean, what would the house say then? “Come young man, escape to this room of mine, your own place, and forget the foils and follies that follow you. I will embrace you, and let you sleep, as you are.”

The nightly noises that nobody ever hears is the berceuse that the house sings to me, pulling me into the sense of security that I long for at the end of the day. The warmth of the bed, so comforting and familiar, the shape of the pillow, which is only so after months of pounding and punching, combine to provide the rhythm of the house’s song. The cats jumping and shuffling provide the accompaniment. The bubbles from the fish tank gurgling and giggling provide the bass and set the pace for the lullaby to follow.

Finally, the house itself provides the melody. In the creaks groans yawns taps clicks and moans that float around the house come the feelings that make up the words of the song:

“Come young one, be calm.
You will not feel the cold here.
This is a warm room.

Come, growing one, sleep.
Worries will not follow you.
Here, dreams are pleasant.”

With the house singing to me its tune, I sleep, and sleep is a curious thing. So many feelings rush through my body every time I close my eyes and try to get comfortable; my body tingles, comfortably, slowly becoming heavy until that tingling turns into a tickle and always my thoughts turn and crawl into the more obscure cracks of my memory, quietly, almost without a sound at all while they turn into dreams.

I never remember those dreams. They are fleeting, like feet through the shallow waters of a beach; they touch my imagination, stir up emotion, and then leave. When the sun comes up and I wake, I’m left just as shifted, as conflicted as the sand on that beach, outside shivering in the cold winter wind.

Monday, May 10, 2010

On sight

My eyes feel heavy, like they do when I'm tired, but maybe not. I think 'heavy' is the wrong word. My eyes aren't heavy, but there's something there, something behind them. I've noticed that since I've given myself a goal, since I've started working towards it, that a feeling fell behind my eyes. It's kind of like I'm seeing things differently, or maybe that I'm more aware. My eyes see the world, but the feeling behind them tells me that there's something more that's there--a hidden agenda, that's not always so sinister in its design, lies just beyond the fabric of life and makes me want to write about it. What I want to write about exactly, I don't know, but tomorrow when I see the world, maybe I can write something that'll create, hopefully, just a little bit of change.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Person in a Place in a World

I've always been a fan of authors like Robert Munch and Dr.Seuss and Shel Silverstein. When I was a kid and only just learning how to read, it was those authors, among others, that really taught me the beauty of words. They also taught me how to look at the world; they taught me how to keep my head up, my eyes open, and to always look at what's around me. And so, I wanted to try and do that myself. I wanted to try to teach a lesson. Here's my attempt at a children's story.

The Person in a Place in a World

Once there was a person. And the person lived in a place. And the place existed in
a world.

And the person was a curious person. And the place was a curious place. And the world was a curious world.

Since the person was curious, he wanted to know. And since the place was curious, and the world was curious, they wanted to know. And so the curious world asked the curious place,

“Where is that curious person going?”

And the curious place didn’t know. And so the curious place asked the curious person,

“Where are you going?”

And the curious person didn’t know. And so the curious person asked its self,

“Where am I going?”

And since the curious person didn’t know, he went.

The curious person went into the curious place that existed in the curious world until a thing came across the path.

And this thing was a curious thing that met a curious person that lived in a curious place that existed in a curious world. And since the thing was curious, it asked the person,

“Where are you going?”

And the curious person answered,

“I don’t know. Would like you to join me?”

And the curious thing answered,


And then the curious thing and the curious person went into the curious place in the curious world until they came across a hard-thing.

And this hard-thing was a not a curious hard-thing, but still it asked the curious thing and the curious person,

“What are you doing?”

And the curious thing and the curious person answered,

“We’re going.”

“Going where?”

“Well, we don’t know.”

“Then why are you going?”

“Well, just to go.”

“And why?”

“Well, we suppose it’s because we wouldn’t be doing anything else otherwise.”

And the curious thing and the curious person went some more into the curious place that existed in the curious world while the hard-thing just stayed and was not curious.

Eventually, they came to know where they were going.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


This is me avoiding our final project. These are also your classmates. This was fun.

School Friends

A bit too thrilled



I expect you all there next time (May?)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Songs and Habits

Everybody has habits; those things that people do in their everyday life that they do absolutely every day. I can’t leave my house without all my little bangles and bits; my friend can’t go to school without going to the bar and having a beer with his friends. In fact, it’s not just my buddy who has his watering hole; everybody has a place where they can feel at ease outside of work or school or their house; the home isn’t always the most stress free of places. Me, I have two places: my campus bar, and Nanta. At the Liberty Lounge at school I always have a great time mingling with the other students who go there. Admittedly, that place is one of higher learning and so, typically the people who go there have something meaningful and interesting to say; it’s just so much fun to have a conversation with them.

But at Nanta…oh Nanta. I’ve never seen a place where so many cultures criss and cross and mingle in such a complete and alcohol induced way; it’s a beautiful thing. At Nanta, a person could sing, if they so choose, in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, English; in almost any language they could want to. As a consequence Chinese people, Japanese people, Korean and English people among others all go there on Friday night and pack the place with all kinds of revelry. From the table three ways down you’ll hear a group cheers, “Kanpai!” and at the group just a few seats down from your own you’ll hear some others cheers , “Kanpei!” You’ll hear people yell, “Ganbatte!” and “Do your best!” and “Salute!” And when you go up to sing, all those different kinds of cheers will be yelled at you, almost teasing you to let just a little looser. It’s one of the most fun places in the world; at Nanta, there are no borders between countries.

That’s the problem with the world. In high school students all break off into cliques, and then they stick with those cliques throughout most of their life. Emos, punks, metal-heads, preps, chachs, nerds, Christians, Catholics, Asians; the list goes on and on, and none of it makes sense; borders are put up during what’s “supposed” to be the most fun times of our lives, and then fights start, and people get hurt all because they think that they’re so different. I remember reading once that between the races there’s a genetic difference of less than .0009%. I’m not even sure if that’s the real number, but I know that whatever the number is, it sure is pretty small. If there were someone out there who could figure out the real difference between people and give it a name, I think they would call it something like ‘genetic personality difference disorder’. It’s an innate thing, and it’s a damn shame that it’s just so ingrained into people. Personally, I think people might get a long a lot better if they just went up on stage once in a while and sang a song in French to cheers of “Kanpai!” “Kanpei!” “Ganbatte!” and “Do your best!”

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tennis courts and a chain-linked fence

The road to my house is very plain and uninteresting. At the first corner of my community and across the plain and uninteresting road, there is a community center. The grounds of that center are well kept; there’s a fountain during the summer that turns into a skating rink during the winter; there are tennis courts, surrounded by high, black, chain-linked fences. I almost never see anybody there. When I do see them, they’re walking around, hunched, looking at the ground in the same way I do, when the weight of the world sits high on my shoulders.

Turning the corner all you’ll see lining the road are houses. Those houses sit almost exactly but not quite 5 feet apart from each other; rows of houses where every third one down looks exactly the same as the third one down. A little farther down that road is a park to the right that’s painted in bright dull hues of blue, red, and yellow. I never see kids playing in that park. This makes me worry about a lot of things, and has made me make decisions about the direction of my own life.

Communities like the one I live in are boring. I see no people, and those people see no people, and those people that aren’t seen also see no people. It’s a dull way to live, and I don’t want it. I’ve noticed that in my own life it’s only away from home where I can mingle and enjoy the company of others, and I don’t think it should be this way. Nothing exciting ever happens in that community.

And people are content. Or so it seems. I would say that they’re more comfortable than anything else. They live in their box, and do nothing interesting outside of taking care of that box. At the place I work at I rent out tools to those comfortable people, and when I ask them what’s new and exciting, they have nothing to say. Typically the conversation ends, with a shrug of the shoulders, a tilt of the head, and a “Nothing really.”

You know, I can only speculate so much. I realise that what I’m saying is a bit biased and unfounded, but I can’t help but think those plain people in their plain houses on their plain road have helped me in a way. Being as young as I am, I don’t really have a direction in life and it’s really easy for people as young as me to become complacent in the environment around us. I remember these two guys who went to high school with me who still have the same job they had when they were fifteen years old. They go to work every day, they have weekends off, they have a car, a house, a girlfriend; they don’t wish for anything much more exciting than that.

Maybe it’s just me who thinks this, but being young is not taken advantage of all too often; I see it happening all the time all around me. If this is how the world’s next generation of leaders are going to be, well, I can’t say I expect much. There’s a time and place for everything, and when you’re twenty one and able, it’s time to see everything the world has to offer, rather than being happy in a community where the center has a fountain that turns into a skating rink during the winter, and tennis courts typically surrounded by high, black, chain-linked fences.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Silly Moth

The silly moth drives itself toward the flame of a night exhaustively. Drawn by unknowable forces, it endlessly drives toward the heat and the light. The moth completely disregards safety, it is completely oblivious to the flames harsh bite. Even after it is burned, it continues the tireless race toward the uncatchable attraction hidden somewhere within light. These poor moths play the same game every night, uncontrollably, inexplicably, irrepressibly. This pathetic dance of death with light, when observed from the human eye, is perceived as humorous, a bit puzzling, perhaps with a tinge of annoyance. But, is it beautiful? Hardly, the poor moth is looked on with contempt and amusement. Its passionate pact of dance unto death with fire just exemplifies the little insect’s insect brain, doing what it has been programmed to do. Stupid little moth! Thank you for showing us your clear inferiority, your helpless efforts cause me a small degree of satisfaction. It is not beautiful, no.

But what if the moth knew what the fire would bring? What if the moth, clearly conscious of the injuries awaiting him, does it anyway? The moth’s determination to capture the fire’s essence propels him forward, always to be burned by the fire’s cold heat. Still, the moth urges on, hazard falls to the wayside; though you shall burn me, the chase is worth it! The thrill of being in pursuit of that what seems unattainable, it’s worth it! There is nothing else on this world of more value than the fire’s cruel temptation. I shall solve your riddle fire, I shall share your essence. Beautiful.