Ok, I don’t know when I’ll blog. Just more regularly than before.
So, we last saw Susan, deserted by Rob/d, expecting her father’s visit. So here he is, on the plane.
“Stupid seats.” Walter fidgeted, trying to put distance between himself and the man on his left, which brought him too close to the man on his right. An airborne Scylla and Charybdis, though the plane still sat on the ground. What was taking so long? Maybe the airlines, with their delays and confined seating, meant to make passengers impatient and uncomfortable so they wouldn’t panic about the possibility of plunging into the prairies and so made take-offs late on purpose.
As soon as the plane backed away from the gate, Walter’s stomach constricted, though if the aircraft did go down, at least he wouldn’t have to worry about what to do with the rest of his life. Just taxiing, the wings wobbled.
Finally, the plane slowed and stopped at one end of a long strip of pavement. A sudden rumbling of thunder from beneath him would have startled him out of his seat had the seatbelt not been holding him in. The whole cabin vibrated when the craft lumbered, the hurled itself down the runway. Vomit rose halfway up his throat. In mere seconds he’d lose touch with the ground. He felt his seat recline backward. Hell, the entire interior tilted. Only mere inches of industrial plastic was keeping the atmosphere out.
…[MORE AIRPLANE DISCOMBOBULATION]
He dozed off [and woke up when the pilot’s fuzzy voice announced the local time & temperature]. Four! Walter didn’t know Celsius very well, but that couldn’t be right. Not for May. “How cold is that?” he asked the man on his other side, the one whose nose had not touched him.
What kind of place was he coming to? At home [Southern Ontario. Remember, he’s on his way to Calgary] he’d had the air conditioning on.
…the wings flassped like a bird’s. Fine for a real bird because their wings couldn’t snap off, but all wrong for metal, which could. Flight wasn’t the effortless floating it seemed from on the ground.
So this was Calgary – a sea of brown grass, a clump of tall buildings on the horizon, nad beyond those, little purple bumps topped with snow.
[We left Susan in bed with Rob/d with the phone ringing and her parrot taking in the situation from his tree-stand in the bedroom. Rod/b is bothered by this.]
“It’s looking at me.” Rod stared at the bird.
Much as she loved Oscar…”He’s a bird!”
“It sounds human.”
[phone continues. both are annoyed. till Susan realizes,]
“It might be my dad.” The only other person who wouldn’t have given up after ten rings. “He never remembers what time it is here.” And maybe – because of advancing age – what day it was, either. Oscar started screeching. Susan finally reached for the cordless so both the bird and the phone would stop further aggravating Rob.
](this takes place in the 90’s, just as cell phones were coming out) Susan lives in Calgary; Walter, her father, in a small town Southern Ontario]
[Rob searches for his clothes]
Susan covered the mouthpiece and begged, “Don’t go!”
“This one spent the whole night? Must be serious.” Walter.
“And probably over, thanks to you.”
“What time is it there?”
“Seven o’clock.” Susan noticed Oscar climbing down from his tree.
“It’s nine here.”
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
“I don’t know. Why?”
Oscar dropped from the last branch onto the floor and waddled, toe nails clicking on the laminate, toward Rod’s feet, which he quickly retracted onto the bed, while swearing. Susan couldn’t help giggling.
“Call me back when you two are done.” Walter hung up.
But Rob wasn’t seeing the humour. “This is too fucking weird. You sleep with your parrot. You have one. Can you get him?”
[Rob leaves. Walter and Susan resume their conversation; Susan learns that her father’s lease wasn’t renewed on his restaurant he’s had since before Susan was born. At 62, Walter has become involuntarily retired, and bored, boards a plane for the first time to visit his daughter]
I forgot my clipboard at home (I do this from the library) containing the next installment of Walter & Susan and I promised myself I’d resume my blogging every Sat (tho the day may change to Tues as of next week. So I’ll comment on my experience as a participant in a Raw Artist gala as an exhibiting artist, as opposed to a performing artist. The musicians and dancers really made the show. We all had to buy out any of the 20 tickets we were each responsible for selling which we did not sell to friends and acquaintances. At least we with inventory could hope/try to recup some of our costs. Those performers were there as an event to put on their resumes to increase their chances of getting hired somewhere someday. They often fly around to other of the 60 RAW cities. Hats off to them. And if you see your friends advertising on FB to buy a ticket to RAW, come out and support them. Other people make events awesome and build others’ artistic careers.
The 20 year project is finally finished, edited, and ready for publication. Currently, I’m seeking a publisher. So I feel ready to share. I’ll be blogging the first page, or so, of each chapter.I had a lot of fun writing this. Why it took so long? I needed to experience better relationships so I could have an idea what they were so I could show growth in some of the characters, Susan specifically.
In the Days Before Cell Phones
The phone?! Who the hell would be calling on a Saturday morning? No one – which was why Susan hadn’t bothered turning her ringer off or the volume down on her answering machine prior to going out Friday night. Her father called Sunday mornings, and Doug only came by in the middle of the night without notice, but usually during the week.
Rod or Rob – the music in the bar had been too loud to hear which – opened his eyes from the pillow beside her. “Aren’t you going to get that?”
“No.” Susan gambled the caller would soon think she either wasn’t home, or already had company and would hang up.
“Why, who is it?”
Like Rod had a right to be jealous after six hours. Every man she mett in the bar had a few women on the go, so why shouldn’t she have other men? She reached over to fondle the one in her bed to show she’d chosen him over any possible former lover on the other end of the line.
“Hello?” Oscar fluffed his feathers on his tree of dead branches in a corner of the bedroom and mimicked Susan’s voice answering the phone, right down to the hopeful tone.
(I think I’m out of space)(or there’s a problem)
It’s been awhile. Now that Walter & Susan, the novel I’ve been working on for 20 years, is finished and ready to submit, I figured I should resume my blogging. Today, though, instead of sharing an installment from the latest novel, I want to put out a poem I wrote a few years back. I’m not a poet, but I figures it captures that attitude of the 50’s. Or, at least mine
At 50, we can afford diamonds (actually, I bought mine young)
To replace the glitter of our withered sex appeal
We no longer have the option of putting up with the man-shit we grew intolerant of.
Memories replace moments.
Suspicion & uncertainty drowned arrogant assurance/ Moments to be seized are more carefully weighted against the losses they might bring.
We learn to hang on because starting over isn’t as easy.
We become wise and accomplished in fields that have become defunct and undervalued. (hand painted in the era of digital & electronic reproduction. in writing, when few people read. I hope I’m wrong)
The consolation prizes have become the point of existence & we do things for our health. (ie exercise instead of just for the sake of being lean)
We have no tolerance for hope; we’ve bottomed out with disappointment too many times before and know what doesn’t work.
But, we have learned to enjoy moments for what they are.
We become accepting, grateful instead of desperate and grasping.
We blame less & accept more responsibility for things that didn’t work out so well.
An offer that turned out bad isn’t someone else’s fault for making it go sour, but ours for trying it out.
Grudges are let go of
as are one sided connections that’ll never be anything else.
Decisions have snowballed into avalanches, for better or worse, in our lives & in others. Often, catastrophic results of a lifetime of bad decisions are hard things to witness, even when they happen to people on whom we once wished vengeance.
I’m supposed to blog. Part of the job of being a writer. Self-promotion. Which I hate. Right now, I’m too busy to have a thought. Which is a thought. Or a complaint. Negativity. But, writers try to be honestly in touch with feelings, right? Human nature, anti white-wash. But, we could focus on the positive bcz everything has 2 sides. Of course. In solving one problem a few years ago, underemployment, I found another job to generate income bcz I make no money from my writing and painting passions. (extremely nominal. less than these pursuits cost). Then hours at both jobs increased and I’m very over employed. Add commuting time. I like both my jobs & enjoy reading on the bus. But there’s too much of a good thing. I don’t know what to do besides wait. Asking for some time off is fine, if co-workers aren’t sick or holidaying or too busy with school. So, time off is “coming.” I just need to hold on. I’m holding. And right now choking on perfume or hand sanitizer or both at the library. All in all, I consider myself a very fortunate person – just struggling for balance.
what is possible in one generation often isn’t in the next, i.e., leaving home around the age of 20, paying for post secondary education without massive student loans, obtaining food without chemicals and preservatives, and maybe in another couple (of generations) living on the ground floor. The Brentwood 8 acre condo development in Burnaby is horribly fascinating to me. 5 69 story condo towers are being built. I hope, with all our condo developments in the Lower Mainland that people who need somewhere to live will be able to afford to. And find work. The kids complain (rightly so, often) they can’t find jobs, and maybe partially because the generations before have automated too much, and probably more is to come. I dread the day of driverless cars