Saturday, March 28, 2009

What are you rushin' towards? I can't keep up with you no more.

Oh my pudding,

I know, I stay away too long. I don't consider your needs. If we were married, this would be grounds for divorce. But this is the internet. We're all children of the new morning, selfish and greedy and loveless and blind.

I'm joking, of course. I love you dearly, pudding. Of course I do. You know what else I love?

Food shaped like letters of the alphabet.


Also, when Matthew gets carried away spiffing up the chalk board during a Catalyst meeting.

It starts innocently enough with a flowering vagina plant...
A few phallic mushrooms, for equal representation...
But then somewhere along the line, somebody gets into the ENCHANTMENT...
M. TotallySinisterLookingRabbit makes an appearance...
Accompanied, as always, by the Caribou of Questionable Motives...and...well...I don't think I can show you what happens next. It's TOO SILLY.

Contrary to what my blog may sometimes lead you to believe, Catalyst does actually get some pretty serious work done around here from time to time. For example, we recently held a forum to discuss religious perspectives on queer sexuality. And just this Monday, we showed a film called Boy I Am, about FTM transgender issues.

Hey look, you can watch the trailer. It was a really well-made film, I thought. Definitely recommended viewing, if you ever get the opportunity.

We're also nearing completion on our fabulous ZINE PROJECT, which is probably the endeavour that I've put the most work into as Activism Chair this year. I'm really hoping that this can become an annual Catalyst undertaking, so I've suggested that we elect somebody to the position of Zine Editor next year, mitosing it off from the Activism Chair position so that whoever is working on the zine next year doesn't end up having their zine work detract from other good activisty Catalyst things they are responsible for, or vice versa. This position will be open to frosh, so if you're interested in queer stuff and cutting and pasting, it could very well be you! (If you don't know what a zine is, or you just want to see lots of them all in one place, I recommend taking a gander at the Queer Zine Archive Project, which is just sexy beyond compare. Hopefully before too long, we'll have Catalyst content archived there!)

By the way, if you ever have any questions about Catalyst or queer life in Sackville, you're more than welcome to get in contact with The Current President (currently Katie "Gaypants" Saulnier) at catalyst(at)mta(dot)ca, or you can always just get in touch with me at elcameron(at)mta(dot)ca. Neither of us promises to know all the answers, but we are pretty hooked into the folks and the haps in the area, so the least we can do is direct your question to somebody who is more qualified to answer it than we are.


Actually, it's kind of an old subject, by which I mean I'd like to go back to something mentioned in my last entry.

Not 24 hours after I posted that entry, I got a very lovingly pissed off email from a friend who was involved in the workshop reading of my play. She said a lot of outrageously sweet things, but the general gist of it was, "don't belittle what you've done just because it wasn't the same thing that Jason and Landon did, bitch." Which upon re-reading my entry really does sound like something the girl who wrote it needed to hear, but here's the thing:

It's all a lie.

Well. Not quite all of it. I really did think Salad Days was a pretty remarkable achievement, and I really do think I need to be a touch more courageous about exposing my work if I'm really serious about this playwriting thing.

But...well. Okay. I'm going to quote from Sheila Callaghan's blog (pretending for a moment that it's not entirely ridiculous to compare my experience as an undergrad scribbler of as-yet-unstaged carnival adventures to the experience of a playwright who's cartoon likeness has appeared in the New Yorker):

"I don't want to get all braggy on the blog...but I FEEL braggy. Like, very. WILDLY. Which is why I am keeping my mouth shut."

Only, of course, I'm not keeping my mouth shut so much as I'm excitedly burbling that I HAVE DONE A THING every chance I get, and then hurriedly covering it up with self-deprecation, lest anybody think I'm actually, you know, pleased with myself.

But okay. Here's the big news: I wrote a play. Which is not a first for me, but I do have a pleasant tingly feeling that it is a best-so-far for me, and that's nice. And I invited a bunch of friends to my apartment and we ate muffins and drank wine and they told me what the play sounded like to them, and I made notes, and then I...made it better. Which is a really comforting thing to find you're still capable of doing, after spending two years with a series of words, and having reached the point where you're not quite satisfied with 'em, but don't quite know what's causing the dissatisfaction, either. It's nice to know, after spending all that time alone scribbling and tapping away at this thing, that what I've created does, at least in places, make sense to people who aren't me, and that there's hope for the parts that don't make sense too -- that people don't mind talking about them with me if I ask nicely, and that I'm not utterly incapable of seeing my work from the outside. (Although it's difficult, and never something i can really get a solid grasp on...but that's okay. It's like oobleck. And I like oobleck.)

Anyhow. A month or so later, you find you've sold your soul to the university store in exchange for photocopying and coil-binding services, and you're holding something like this...
...and trying to sort out how something this fat...
Photobucket going to fit into this envelope...
...which of course, it simply is not.

But it's all right. All you need to do is perform a little reverse-gastric-bypass-surgery with packing tape and donor tissue from another specimen.
Ta da!
It's mailing time.

Which is to say that with any luck, these fine people have by this time received my freakshowishly fat envelope, and will soon be making professional judgements on the quality of its contents.

It's not that I'm not ready to let go of the project (for the time being), or that I don't know what to do with myself now that it's gone, but...well. It is a little strange. All these other writing projects that were on the back burner while I focused on finishing that particular script are now vying for primacy, and I'm like, "Woah, dudes, hold on, I have a huge friggin' pile of unwritten papers to take care of before I even start to think about you." And, as is the way with me and research, the process of writing papers leads to the conception of further ideas to shove aside at least until the end of the school term. (I think I need mind-condoms. For safe, clean, chemical information-sex. Messy, but not dirty.)

Speaking of playwriting and things I'm going to do with myself, though, I have Really Exciting News! A while back I applied for an internship with the Playwright's Atlantic Resource Centre, and just recently I was offered the job. This means I'll be hanging out in the shire for the summer. Should be good times, not only because this is a job I am looking forward to learning from, but because my flat-mate and several of my particular friends have also decided to do the summer-in-Sackville thing. I predict fantastic adventures. Picnics, perhaps? IT IS A DISTINCT POSSIBILITY.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, when what I really need to be doing is avoiding falling behind. Time to return to my stack of books, pudding. I'm very excited about Shakespearean triangles right now.

More Life,

P.S. - Yesterday I voted emphatically in favour of continued funding for 7 Mondays, Mt.A.'s fab little student poetry-shortfiction-photography journal, which I continue to be infatuated with, even if it doesn't love me back. As part of the Save 7 Mondays movement, the current editorial board has been keeping up this neat little blog, which aside from spreading the word about how 7 Mondays may be saved, is also being used to display examples of why it should be saved, i.e.: particularly juicy bits from volumes past. I recommend checking it out.

P.P.S. - Um. In case you prefer it when you know why things are called what they're called, you might like this entry better after viewing this:

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Friggin' Time Machine, Ladies + Gentlemen.

You know what, pudding? I should probably never tell people what I plan on doing when I get home if it's something I actually need to do. Here's how that works out:

PEOPLE: We are going to do something fun and perhaps boozy! Come with?
ME: No! I must write an essay/do my dishes/assassinate somebody who is doing bad things/save a whale!
PEOPLE: Laaaaaaaame. JK, je t'adore; have fun with that! Kisses, 'bye!

[ME goes home and does something that is obviously not whatever she just told PEOPLE she was going to do.]

So yeah.... I may have said I was going home to write a proposal for a future essay about the inside of Willy Loman's skullmachine in Death of a Salesman, but actually I'm writing to you guys. Whatever. It's been too long. I have no regrets. (I may feel differently about that when it's Monday morning and I'm scrambling to remember what a semi-colon is for at the tail end of an all-nighter, but whatever. I live for the present.)

So, long time no blog, eh?

There are a couple things I'd like to tell you about. I'll work backwards. Then you can feel like I have given you a ride in a time machine.

The event I declined the invitation to go out to the bar after tonight was a staged reading of Salad Days, a musical co-written by Jason and Landon, two ambitious young gentlemen of my acquaintance.

This was the second time in my Mount Allison career that I have gone to Windsor Theatre to see work by students performed in a not-yet-cooked state. The first time was near the end of last semester, when Jenny Munday's playwriting class read excerpts from each other's work. Over the past year-and-a-bit I've become increasingly interested in the things that happen to a script between the first time the writer sort of feels like it's kind of finished in a (completely false but still important to the process) sense and the time it gets a full production in front of people who aren't necessarily related to, sleeping with, or even particular friends of somebody on or backstage. I've always had this kind of paralyzing terror about the prospect of people actually saying things that I wrote out loud. Bad quirk for a playwright, obviously, which is why I've been trying to drop that terror, or at least ignore it enough to, you know, do what I want to do. Earlier this semester I even took (what felt to me like) the giant leap of inviting a bunch of friends over and drinking just enough wine to prevent me from wanting to curl up and die while they read my script out loud. (Not curling up and dying was important, so I could scribble furiously in the margins about how much shit I was going to cut the fuck out.)

After seeing what Jason and Landon and twelve awesome singing/acting friends pulled off tonight in front of a nearly full house of giant leap is beginning to look more like a teeny tiny eeny weeny little baby step. Forget the ballsiness of letting an audience in on an unfinished piece of work (although that is certainly a level of ballsiness I admire); let's just stop and appreciate the basic ballsiness of setting out on a collaborative project like this in the first place. That is ballsiness I aspire to, my friends. But I think I'll have to get over my need to self-medicate when hearing my words spoken before I'm ready to, you know, get somebody else intimately involved in making those words exist in the first place. Still: a girl can dream, and I do. Jason and Landon, you are an inspiration. (And by that, I of course mean that you make me feel totally pathetic, and now my choices are either to wither and become compost, or desperately attempt to display comparable ballsiness in the not-too-distant future.)

Not to mention it's nice to learn/be reminded that certain people around here can friggin' sing their faces off when given the opportunity. Very nice indeed.

Earlier this week I woke up to a 1998 flashback. That's an exaggeration, obviously, but there was an ice storm, and it had knocked the power out at some point during the night. Although power had returned by the time I woke up, my alarm clock didn't know what time it was. Fortunately the outage had effected most if not all of Sackville, so I wasn't the only one stumbling sheepishly into first-period classes fifteen minutes after they began -- or simply not making it to them at all.

By a strange coincidence, the year of the aforementioned ice storm of my youth was also a year in which there were multiple Friday-the-13ths in succession, as there are this year. Spooooooky.

But like I said -- it's not really comparable to '98, aside from the fact that the trees are really beautifully glass-looking in a sad we-are-oppressed-and-it-is-breaking-us-apart kinda way, and the stairs leading up to my apartment are almost certainly going to result in death or serious injury to somebody some time soon.

Speaking of Friday the 13th, Alistair friggin' MacLeod just so happened to be speaking at the Owens gallery on campus that day. Definitely not unlucky. Even if you've never read anything by him, if you get the opportunity to hear this man speak, DO IT. What happens is, he talks and you laugh and you laugh and you laugh, and then he starts reading his work and you cry and you cry and you cry. I think I've inherited my father's penchant for people whose stage patter style is incongruous with the tone of their artistic work. What I just said about Alistair MacLeod was pretty much a direct thievery of what my dad is always saying he loves so much about Lynn Miles, with the appropriate verb subbed in. But now I've credited him, so he can't sue me. Right? Anyhow. Go read some Alistair MacLeod, pudding. It'll be good for you. And it'll hurt. But in a good way. I promise.

I know I said I was going to do this whole post backwards like a time machine, but what kind of time machine only goes one direction? I'm now going to take you one day forward from the last jump, to February 14th.

February 14th means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Heck, it's meant a lot of different things to me over the years, and I'm just one person. It's meant a day to roll one's eyes at straight couples humping in the hallways who one will later freak out by coming out to. It's meant cuddle puddling with hippy friends and hippy guitars and vast quantities of hippy chocolate on the floor of one's friend's place in Ottawa, and later going out for a midnight skate on the deserted canal while singing showtunes. It's meant wishing one was around to see what pretty cards were being made for "Validation Day" at the commune one visted the previous fall. It's meant hanging out in the Kingston public library with one's new girlfriend reading random bits of poetry about buses full of fat black gospel singers while waiting for the rabbi to show up for the story circle. It's meant reluctantly agreeing to go on an obvious date with a boy because if there's any day one is supposed to at least act like one wants to be going on dates, one supposes that February 14th is probably it. It's meant hiding crazy collagey valentines with kazoos hidden inside all over campus as a means of expressing one's love for those fine folks who listen to one's campus-community radio show.

One thing that anyone who knows what's doing at Mt.A. knows, though, is this: February 14th means Sweetest Little Thing.

Consequently, I would like to share with you some of my favourite cakes that were prepared for this year's cake walk:

Armadillo cake!

Leaning tower of cake! (The good people of Cuthbertson house ended up with this impressive piece of edible entropic architecture...which they had a mighty fun time trying to figure out how to transport back to said house, let me tell you.)

Wedding cake!

Nude marzipan lady cake!

Voodoo cake!

Imitation cake wreck cake!

Just to give you an idea of how many cakes I didn't end up including in this post:
Many of them were also totally gorgeous. Apologies if I didn't photograph your cake. It was probably just because there were too many people standing around it talking about how friggin' darling it was and I couldn't get a camera in edgewise.

Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the gallery they were fresh out of cake walk tickets, so no cake for me, but I did aquire some mighty fine mollusks. (In fact, they have been mating in my living room for almost a month solid now. That, my friends, is stamina.)

Also, it's cute when little kids dance with balloons.

Also, this ring game was cute.
(It doesn't seem to have been captured in the picture, but this was much like other ring games, except that the "rings" were made of wire bent in the shape of rickety hearts. The arrow goes through the heart and you win, get it? Cute!)

Awright puddin', that's enough outta me.

I love you.

More Life,

P.S. - I know, I know, I just took you to the past and dumped you there. Build your own friggin' time machine if you want to get back, I guess? Or you could be patient, relax, and let the current take you back to the present. Not my problem kid; I got proposals to write and squid-things to admire and samosas to hopefully get up early enough to consume.