Monday, September 12, 2005

From Glen to Glen and Down the Mountainside.

It’s not all doom and gloom. I might not like Hamilton, but there are bits and pieces of promise. Sometimes the trees are especially green and the breeze is refreshing. I like the big squirrels here – they seem mischievous. I like how the panhandlers are rarely verbally abusive. My friends are almost all in walking distance. The size of this city affords one a certain level of anonymity, which is both a blessing and a curse. I like the random little events that make me contented. Today:

Early this afternoon I was watching Ewan McGregor’s very early and very excellent Shallow Grave, which is about how Ewan’s flatmate goes mad after mutilating three corpses. You know – that old tired storyline. Anyhow, in the back of my mind I could hear the soprano tack-tack-tack of a Scottish snare. When I pried my eyes off of Ewan, I shook my head and realised I was missing a parade! I threw on pants and a shirt and dashed out to the street.

There was a lone pipe band marching north on Bay Street, followed by some sort of regiment and what looked like cadets or something. It was odd. I didn’t see anyone else marching with them. I don’t know what it was for? Drills? Memorial of some sort? I know it’s the 11th of September, but I doubt that’s the connection.

Anyhow, I followed them from Charleton Street to Main, then they turned up Main and I was afraid I looked like a dork following a pipe band with a sloppy grin on my face, so I returned.

I love pipe bands. I don't know why. There's not a drop of Celtic blood in my veins, I don't think. Bagpipes just remind me of home. I want to learn. I’ve never played a wind instrument. I’d probably get dizzy and pass out. I always like the awkward instruments – first double bass, I wanted a berimbau but couldn’t find a decent one, and now the pipes. What’s next? The harp?

So, I’m still waiting for my committee to set a defence date. Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll know when it is. I’m very idle right now, which leads to heightened creativity on my part. Back in ’99, I had a month of idle days before I moved to England. I started writing (bad) short stories and designing alternate album covers for all my CDs. Now it’s working on the ever-thought-about, never-congealed screenplay. Every image I see, I ask myself how I’d economically and effectively describe it in Courier font. I smile, thinking about how the lines I write can be interpreted differently by different actors. Do I put in oppressive stage directions? Do I leave it almost blank of direction, a la Shakespeare? It’s just a matter of, you know, starting to write. Easy.

I finished “The Alchemist” this week. It was a nice read. It might be on the recommending reading list for the Church of Catherine, I think. I was chatting with one of my great classmates, Rubens, and he told me that the author, Paolo Coelho, was a Brazilian druggie songwriter in the 60s/70s and when he starting writing literature no one would take him seriously. Rubens went to the same university as Coelho. They had the same advisor. Small world. I will probably read another of his books.

I have begun “What We All Long For” by Dionne Brand, which I don’t want to set down. I like the way it makes me think about Toronto. I hope to review it when I’m finished.

I’m in a much better state of mind since my last post. Ne t’enquiete pas.


Holly said...

Best of luck on the defense- we are all rooting for you!

Holly said...

ACtually- I felt a small ancestral tug today, too. Someone was practicing his/her clarinet out on the balconies this afternoon. What a nice sound on a rainy day.