Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the Mirror…

I read my horoscope everyday, not so much because I believe in the power of celestial bodies messing with my life as I believe it is the acid test for how I am feeling when I read it.  Today it said something to the effect that I would be likely to get into arguments, which pissed me off.

I do get angry. It is hard not to sometimes but I try to be aware of it before I am in some action that can do harm and also, I will admit, gets me in harms way.

I used to toss a coin when I couldn’t make my mind up about something.  Never anything really important, usually when either choice was valid.  I found if I didn’t like the outcome of the toss I would simply do the opposite. Again, either choice being valid, my inclination was the question. I learned that didn’t need to waste my time. I am not as quick witted as I once was, but I am more measured.

Inclination is in itself type of coin, perhaps a coin we don’t know we carry until something in life causes us to choose an action and we have to turn it over. Granted there are plenty of thoughtless thugs who never question their inclinations. Often if they have some part to play in history they become celebrities at least in their own pub or whatever cultural gathering place that includes mental incapacity due to alcohol or religion or the combination that results from professional sports. Or they become infamous villains depending on way things play out, how attractive their features are and if they survive or end up on t-shirts. Those who question inclination often become ineffectual in the grand scheme and hardly thought of at all when the dust settles except perhaps when they say, “I was alive during that time”.

My question is, within the mass of humanity that might get caught up on the streets in some sort of demonstration either by folly or desire or virtue, are not most feckless wanderers who despite the rightness or wrongness of their inclination would choose NOT to cause harm to another human being, especially if they could toss the coin endlessly until the question of being there or staying home was exhausted?

I once spent a weekend with a lovely couple in the seventies who had been caught up in the arrests without cause that followed the FLQ crisis back in ? She was less ardent but he was sure a war between French and English Canada was coming and after hours of talking concluded that I would be shot by both sides. The assertion being that NOT CHOOSING was a greater sin than being wrong.

But again, there are people who just show up. People like me who don’t know how to effect change but recognize at some point you have to decide to show up in support of this or that. The hard part is not falling prey to the inclination to do harm. The miraculous part is seeing some who can show us how to address the harm that others might do without perpetuating it or fueling it.

Wow. Just writing that last sentence got my heart pumping. The scary thing is being scared and not succumbing to acts of violence. Not condoning aggression even as pay back. It is the fear of losing the peace that I enjoy that reveals the fear and perhaps the dishonesty of my pacifism, but that peace includes everyone I endeavour to love and that includes everyone. So when whatever war comes to my door (because I will stay in) I will try to be brave and say, “either side can kill me, I will not defend myself if it involves harming others.” My inclination will not decide for me. Regardless of how close to what history will bare as the most important choice a person can make in these times, a gut reaction will not be useful. My practice and commitment to love and to do no harm to others will be what determines my actions. I will be wrong perhaps but not untrue. I tend push back, it is my inclination, but I submit by choice.

These are frightening times.

P.S. I have just learned of the events in Charlottesville, in the U.S. yesterday. It is hard not to want to strike out against the monstrous mental paralysis that has lead to these murderous acts. It is not terrorism, it is bare-faced murder.

These people who are in the mental paralysis called fascism want to kill the opposition. They do not recognize any people who have opinions other than theirs as being human, as anything but a target for their hatred.

So how do you respond?

I think that it is good that the statue is coming down and it shows the success of government and civic responsibility. I don’t believe that the fascists have done anything to change that. (I hope). I am sorry for all the people who were injured and their families.

I am not going to say I laughed my head off…

I have an overdue library book.  Unfortunately I can’t find it.  I couldn’t even remember what the name of it was.  I usually just scoop up three or four paper backs at a time at random; it is the only way for me to overcome a bias that ends with me reading the same type of books (and even the same book) over and over and never EXPANDING MY MIND.

I asked the librarian what the name of the book I seem to have lost is, get this, it’s title is:

LOST AND FOUND IN PRAGUE.

Is that  funny?  Should I move to Prague?  Besides now having literally fallen on my face, this new phase of my life is seeming all too literal!

Metaphorically speaking…NOT!

 

the Artist’s Project at the Exhibition Place, a good time!

Laura was kind enough to send me two coupons for tickets. She is an encaustic artist, does really great work, a lovely person and generous too. I would not have gone otherwise, probably. Not that I don't love the show but just because it is at Exhibition Place.

It was still quite a wintery day despite the warmer temperatures. The wind was fierce off the lake and as it happened, it was not in the building I thought it was in. I thought it was in the Direct Energy Building. As we walked from the streetcar to the building I was really excited to see how many people were going to look at art! There was a tall guy in a lime green kid's hat complaining about the show not being there. He didn't fit with the crowd I noticed. It took me a while to register that there seemed to be a lot of really badly dressed men in the line-up. Of course it was the motorcycle show… I know I sound like a snob but it's true. People are more likely to put on clean jeans for an art show than for a motorcycle show. I am fairly certain they do not wear lime green kids cartoonish type hats.

So we had to brave the cold wind and slushy sidewalks to get to the show, I felt bad cause Dee was getting over a cold…

I, myself, am still feeling like I need to curl up in a ball under lots of blankets most of the time for emotional warmth if not physical warmth. It is hard to throw myself into social situations. I either talk too much or not enough BUT and this is a BIG BUT, I had a really good time.

I like to pick up cards (if they have them) when something of the artist’s work strikes me. I try to do this without discretion, and only on impulse. I don’t get cards for all of the work that gets me only the ones that compel me. This way it is about my own “work” rather than some sort of critique. Peter A. Bareikowski’s caught my eye. I have noticed I am inclined to gravitate towards iconic or symbolic work that is child-like and including dream like images. This is from his bio:

His work has been about human conditions like isolation and alienation. Creating a paradox between his joyful colours and darker subject matter, his paintings attempt to play with our ideas around sadness. As a form of subtle escapism, the figures in his paintings are depicted in a one dimensional, cartoonish style – with almost grotesque undertones. By doing so, Barelkowski hopes to create the feel of another world.


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Catherine Jeffery who does wonderful street scenes full of reflections and colour and just how I feel downtown when I don’t wear my glasses! She was generous in talking about her painting method, something I love to learn. Dee really liked her work.

I ran into Jamie and Russell from the Artist’s Network days…wonderful work this year from both of them, and nice to see familiar faces!

Dee and I had a long and interesting conversation about some of the pitfalls and challenges for creative people and what genius might be, also, she told me a wonderful story about time and layers in a space that she has lived in for thirty years…the conversation shifted in and out of our meanderings, heading home we got on the subway going the wrong way, even though we very consciously noted the Eastbound sign before heading down to the platform!!! At one point I imagined ourselves on the other train, engrossed in conversation but going the right direction in a different time! BRAIN EXPLODES!

My first time dealing with crowds for a long time,I had to eat some sugar to keep going but then got a bit loopy. Damn pancreas!

There was a lot of really amazing work. You can check out the website for The Artist Project. It was a great show but too far from public transit on a cold day. (I am an grumpy crippled old crone after all!)

Today is the last day. If you are in town you should try to check it out!

I had a poetry crisis riding a bus!

I read a poem
where an advertisement should have been,
I got very excited and
I looked around
nobody else seemed to notice.
The words were what I would have said,
maybe they were mine.
I had no pen so
I sent myself a text:

dionne brand I have beenlosing roads land to.light on

I Googled “Dionne Brand” and she doesn’t look like me. I just thought, reading her poem that, as the words kissed my little grey matter, they belonged to me.