Archive for the ‘Life of Carmen’ Category

Little lemon tree

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe little lemon tree is crying again. Infested with scale, it weeps sticky tears.

On homecoming to Vancouver I find the little tree in sorry state. Once again I apologize for my absence and neglect, and set to tending her. I borrow pruning shears from my neighbour, kneel before the little tree, and amputate the most crusted branches, knowing new ones will sprout at the stumps. Then I set to work with rag and dish soap, gently cleaning  each leaf and stem. It takes a couple of hours but when I am done she stands shiny and straight.  I scratch a glossy leaf with my nail and the clean tang of citrus fills my nose.

Pablo planted this tree from a seed oh so many years ago. He gave it to me when he went away. When I clean the the little lemon tree I think of beautiful Pablo and his sticky tears.

I’m in the soup

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

rainy-lake-and-islandRain drums on the roof of my bus, waves pound the rocks below. Into the darkness and back to the light, I commit, to this. I commit to this slippery grey stone in the Salish Sea, which will be my home through this winter. I am stoked, intrigued, and a little terrified.

I have taken a job as part-time Marketing Assistant at Hollyhock, until May, and who knows from there. I was hesitant, because the word ‘marketing’ kind of makes my skin crawl. But mostly it  will be graphic design, writing copy, and connecting people up – more or less what i like to do, and do well. I know it really grounds me to have some kind of a job, to give a semblance of structure to my time. I respect Hollyhock and think the work will be fun. And of course it will pay the rent, which on Cortes Island, is pretty cheap. (more…)

It’s my potty

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Where’s your bathroom?,” asks a visitor to my little green schoolbus-home in the forest.

Ummmm….well, that depends what you have in mind. If you want to take a bath i’m afraid you are SOL, but there is a lovely ocean right at the bottom of the bluff—warmish, by Canadian (not Carribean) standards. A shower? The garden hose coiled onto a hook in the fir tree delivers clean water, gravity-fed from the reservoir at the top of the hill — and because of the black pvc water line, on a sunny afternoon the shower can actually be hot! (more…)

Beating Resistance

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

wallI am locked in a fight with Resistance. She’s been kicking my ass for a while. Resistance lobs grenades at me, mortar shells, spit balls, and mean names. She shows up at my door every evening with a bottle of cheap wine and a stink bomb, hidden in bunch of fake roses. Every day she says: not here. Not now. Not you.

Resistance tells me to relax. Watch a movie. Smoke some weed. Take a day off, take a load off, take a vacation. Take a life off. Resistance whispers in my ear that I am not quite ready to do my life’s Work. Who are you, she says sarcastically, to do this? When I get riled she says hey, hey, don’t take it so personal. You can start your life’s work…tomorrow. Or the next day—I hear the weather’s supposed to be good on Thursday. Or maybe, the day after that. (more…)

The tricky tides

Friday, July 26th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI live high on a bluff at the mouth of an ocean lagoon. The lagoon is placid and deep blue at high tide, warm from the afternoon sun and perfect for paddling. At low tide the beach stretches out to rocky islands. A green finger points out from the lagoon’s mouth, emerging as a sandbar jutting hundreds of metres into the ocean, dotted with exotic starfish. Walking out onto it is like strolling ankle-deep in a rippling dream. (more…)

A letter to 10-year-old me

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

nightskyDear little girl with the wild red hair and mad eyes. Buck up kiddo. Here is the life you will lead when you are 50.

You will live in a sunny apartment in the coolest neighbourhood in the most beautiful city on earth. Your best buddy will live on the other side of your closet wall. You will live in the high desert in a community of wise monks. You will live alone in a cabin deep in the rainforest.

You will swim naked in the Pacific Ocean. You will ride a fine silver bike. Sometimes you will dance all night and other times you will rise before dawn and nap all afternoon. You will do work that is fun to do—in fact, you will make art, for good people. You will have countless funny friends, some of whom are old people and some of whom are children. (more…)

Paean to the pomegranate

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Pomegranate3The pomegranate is the sexiest fruit in the world. Every seed bursting, sweet tart and blood red. Splitting one heavy red fruit was a seasonal ritual I shared with my dad. He taught me the trick to eat the pomegranate: you take a fat wedge and break it in two, exposing the gleaming surface of rubies. Then, positioned over a bowl or right above the sink, you dive in face-first and slurp, taking fat full mouthfulls, (more…)

Remembering Tammy Fudge

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I remember Tammy Fudge.

That really was her name. As if that wasn’t enough, Tammy was gangly and awkward and kind of funny looking. She had no friends. If you sat beside her you wouldn’t have any friends either. You knew that in that dangerous and delicately balanced pre-adolescent universe, to befriend Tammy Fudge would have constituted social suicide.

A boy put gum in Tammy’s hair and the teacher had to tease it out with an ice cube. I was haunted by the quiet shame in her face as the teacher worked through tammy’s hair with the ice cube and the comb. (more…)


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