Sunday, August 29, 2010

wondering where I've been?

The end is in sight. The end of summer. The end of day trips and music festivals, healthy brown skin, kids playing on the grass in front of my unit, crickets everywhere, sleeping with the window open. It's been a wild and crazy summer, one of the best I've had since I was a kid. You might have noticed - I took a brief, unplanned hiatus from writing of any kind. No blogging, no journals, no stories or poems, and there were days that it was difficult to update my Facebook status. This time, I wasn't depressed, or anxious, or bogged down in worry of any kind. I was out there having fun, and at the same time, fully becoming aware of all the changes that have taken place since April, and all the wonderful things still to come.

Just call me Pollyanna. It's close enough to my given name that I will answer.

Here's a not-so-brief recap. I think my last post was about my birthday, introducing my girl to the family, and preparing for fest. Six weeks ago, or somewhere thereabouts.

Melyssa and I went to Fest - the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival - which was amazing. A whole week together, and we even put up the big-ass tent together without once disagreeing....even though it was almost dark and we'd been cooped up in the car all day long. Emily fared almost as well - she is just not a car kid, but I was so happy that she made the trip without much fussing. Musical highlights - The Indigo Girls! Ferron! Bitch! Holly Near! I discovered some new favourites - right now I can't get enough of Mary Gauthier and her new CD "The Foundling." Emily hung out in Gaia girls most of the time, because she didn't ever want to leave - her caregivers rocked, by the way - and I had time during the day to be alone, think, write and dream.

Yeah, I know I said that I'd taken a hiatus from writing....

I met some wonderful new friends, and had a chance to reconnect with people that I'd met last year. Going to fest with someone was a completely new experience, it felt so much better for me. There was someone to hold me when I cried (yes, I did...feeling safe brings a lot of shit to the surface). I had good company for every concert. Excellent company. The best.

We spent the week blissfully unaware of the outside world, and were feeling safe and supported by one another and our new community when we came home - Monday morning we unloaded the car, and took the camping topper off the roof. I set my bag down to grab the topper (a black canvas bag that I'd bought at fest and stuffed with everything - wallet, passports, camera, phone, ipod) and went inside. Momentarily lost track of the bag - it was in front of my co-op housing unit and I usually feel pretty safe there. Melyssa left because she had a class to teach that afternoon. When I'd rooted through the dozen or so black canvas bags in the house and realized that my bag was still outside (this is Ontario, land of the re-usable shopping bags, and I think there are about 20 bags, all tolled, in my house at any given moment)...I went out to look for it and discovered it was gone. Of course. With everything inside it.

So I lost everything. US dollars, credit cards, bank cards, camera, passports...I had the passports and other ID replaced within 72 hours. That was the easy part. The hard part was realizing that all of our fest photos were on the camera that I lost - all kinds of video of the Indigo Girls, pictures of Emily in the Gaia parade, of friends that we had met...

and I lost my notebooks. The full one and the one I had started at Fest. Six months of writing down the tubes (or very likely, tossed in a dumpster along with anything else that the thief considered garbage). Six months...bits of poetry that I'd wanted to transcribe and save, story ideas, journal entries. The poem that I'd written at Fest that I was going to revise and share at Ferron's open mike the next was somewhat devastating.

Okay, it was traumatic. Someone else might have held my notebook, read my words, and probably thought they were so useless that they dumped them. Meanwhile, I struggled with their loss. And had to deal with my own anger - at myself for being so careless. For not recognizing the value of what was held between two spiral-bound covers.

The next weekend Melyssa and I actually made it back to Michigan. This time for FenFest. Wow. Just wow. Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I met Ferron at one of her writing workshops two years ago, and I have been to all three FenFests. They keep growing - in both audience numbers and in performer quality. This year: Bitch, Nervous But Excited, Susan Morris, Tret Fure, Holly Near (Yes!) Emma's Revolution, Bob Vance (an incredible poet) and Ferron herself. Since Ferron has limited her performance schedule it's one of the few places that you can actually hear her perform - and what a way to hear her - outdoors, in her back yard with the crickets singing along. It is one of the most intimate musical experiences that I have ever had - first of all, sitting ten feet away from the stage, and second of all, being able to access these amazing musicians as they wandered the land, and sat at the campfire post-performance.

You know, I actually did work this summer. And loved every minute of it! I went home from FenFest, worked for a week and went back to Michigan for another week. Really. We met up with a friend that we met at Fest who works in a nature preschool - my goddess, if I didn't have family and health care in ontario I'd be scheming for ways to get my green card - that preschool was one of the most amazing early childhood sites I have ever visited.

I love my job. Love it. So now I want to move the preschool to Ontario. Or at least try to find ways to incorporate more of their principles into my program.

Then Melyssa and I went back to the Fen. No FenFest or writers' workshop this time. Just the two of us doing our quiet thing. Walking the land, talking. Playing Scrabble (she kicked my ass) and Trivial Pursuit (I kicked her ass) at night, when we weren't out looking at the stars. I followed the boardwalk down to the river once, twice, three times a day with my notebook in hand.

And I wrote. It was hard at first - writing takes the discipline of daily practice, and that's what I had dropped first. So hard to make those words sing when you are just not used to moving the pen across the page...but with each visit to the notebook it got a wee bit easier. And then, on the day before we left, I felt that creative urge resurface, and it all came back to me. That I write and write well. That I love writing. That I must write, always, every day, and make it my calling.

And we had time for a little visit with Ferron....

and we are going back before winter. There's so much to do at home - we are both gearing up for a new school year (in very different ways), the tomatoes are ripe and asking to be picked and canned, I have a ton of projects to finish at home. But I need that creative jump start every once in a while and I am going to take advantage of it - I love the land at the fen, the energy of that beautiful house in the trees. It's like my other home. But in the meantime, I will keep the words flowing.

Expect to see me here more often, now that my crazy summer is drawing to a close. I promise.

Did I mention I'm going camping next weekend?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

vacation vacation

I'm off to Michfest.

Some of you might remember my trip to Michfest last year. This time it's different.

I'm bringing The Girl. And my six year old.

The summer is flying by. I've been so busy. I've also been struggling with a serious case of writer's block. Hopefully I can break out of it soon and be back to regular blogging.