By way of explanation

I am completely bagged this month. School, work, and other commitments are pounding the last bit of hell out of me. Fortunately, I have a series of excerpts from novels I wasn’t writing five years ago. They were originally published on a former incarnation of the Milkcrate (one or two people might recognize an excerpt or two from that blog), but they’ve been languishing on my hard drive since I moved to this domain. I’ll be reposting the series this month to give me time to focus on other things without completely abandoning this space. I hope you enjoy them. Visual Cage

Friday Notes

1. The instructor for my magazine writing course is pushing me (and the rest of my classmates) to pitch ideas to magazines. She really wants us to succeed, and I can’t help but want to do a very good job for her. It’s nice to be taught by someone so passionate and so willing to include us in her passion.?????????? ?????????????? ??????????: ? ??????? ???????????? ???????

2. I got the twitter. I have no idea why I joined, and I’m not really sure I understand what the point is. But if you’re on twitter and you want to follow me (or if I can follow you), look me up. My username is “milkcratejess”. I remain uncertain and wary. For now.

3. My mind is in turmoil, and my heart has sunk. I have found out that my husband considers mashed potatoes a radical shift in the Christmas dinner traditions of his family. I argue that roasted potatoes are not my forte, and that I’m quite good a preparing mashed potatoes. Besides, I miss them sometimes.

4. The September weather has been dismayingly uncooperative. It persists in breaking records for daytime high temperatures. I want to wear sweaters, and I’m sick of my summer clothes. Far more sick than I ever get of my winer clothes. I want to wear boots. And my new wool hat.

5. I ought to have been in bed an hour ago.

Dear everyone,

My summer has begun. Summers are usually a whirlwind of gorgeous insanity. I try to pack as much activity as possible into the months when everything happens in my city. When outside is the only place I want to be. It’s my time to collect experiences. And I have this habit of burning myself out. I have no reason to believe this summer will be any different. There is nothing orderly or scheduled about my brain during June, July, and August. These months are about festivals and weddings and road trips and camping. No ocean this year, but many mountains to be hiked and explored.

I’ve decided to let go and enjoy the ride. I’ve discovered the pattern of my years, and there’s no sense in fighting the seasons. I write best when the weather is cool and I have nowhere better to be than inside. I’m going to relax in the sun as much as I can while I can go outside without six layers of clothing. Since the weather is on no schedule and follows no pattern, I’m abandoning my scheduled posting for the summer, and I’m happy with that decision. I’ll still write and some of it will end up here, but I can’t be strict with myself when there’s precious sunshine to lay around in. Things might be different if I lived somewhere with more regular seasons, but we take what we can get around here, and this year, it seems to be even less than usual.

But since I’m speaking as me and not my fictionalized narrator self, I want to say thank you to everyone who reads and comments. I’m fairly bad about responding to individual comments because I’m not always sure what to say, but I read and appreciate your words and reactions. You keep me going and you make me want to write better every time.


Five things that are on my mind this week

I haven’t written as myself in a while. Sometimes I need to be reminded of my own voice.

Edmonton’s incoming Poet Laureate is none other than hip-hop artist Roland Pemberton, a.k.a. Cadence Weapon. His music captures Edmonton in ways that you wouldn’t see at first glance, and he seems to intend to re-define the position of poet laureate. This news gives me deep joy.

For the past two weeks, I have consciously tried to avoid cooking with meat on weekdays. I feel a lot better than I have in months. Right now it’s just an experiment. I have a solid repertoire of vegetarian recipes, and I’m going to continue as long as I can.

I’ve committed to riding my bike to work at least twice a week this summer. The commute is just under 9 km and takes me about 30 minutes each way. The last 2 km or so is in a bleak industrial area, and I am almost certain to have a cross-wind in both directions. For some reason, I love my bike more this year than I did last year, and I’m less afraid of vehicles. Once I get my technique down, I think I’m going to love the ride.

I have a balcony garden. So far we have successfully sprouted potatoes, onions, and beans or peas (the trough isn’t labelled and it was one or the other), and the carrots and parsnips should be coming along soon. All our plants seem content, and I think we will have a fairly successful, if unavoidably small, harvest.

I spent a while feeling disconnected and untethered. I think I’ve found my way back to the quiet, contemplative places I love. Perhaps this is a temporary fearlessness, just a pause in the flurry of my mind, but it is good for now. I will breathe while I can.