Vancouver wildlife

I live in the Yukon where I hear wild animals more often than I see them. A clod of hooves in the darkness as I walk the dog at six in the morning. A far away howling I've decided was definitely wolves. Chickadee peeps and raven crackles. In Vancouver, though, where I was last week, wild creatures aren't afraid to show themselves. A seal swimming under Burrard Bridge, a cormorant swooping past Sunset Beach and, on Granville Island, a racoon curled up in a crow's nest enjoying the October sun. It's comforting to see such urban symbiosis but I know it's not real, that the humans are having their way with the world whether the world likes it or not.

Finding our voices

My dog and I have found our voices. The vet found my dog's, I have to assume, for since she was spayed last week she has been almost chatty. As far as I can tell, her whines and husky howls aren't communicating pain but are certainly making clear to me the pain of communication. As James Herriot's book title has it, If only they could talk. This, after three months of almost silence since we brought her home from the shelter. And my voice? Not something that I'd realized was missing, but an observation by my Humber School for Writers tutor. She didn't exactly say I'd found my voice but that a switch had been flicked. It's nice to know my lights are on now. Low energy perhaps, but much longer lasting.

Party tricks

We had a party and we were lucky, people came. It was our party so I knew it was going to happen but it still took me by surprise. When the party takes place in your own house, you don't get that time in the car or on your bicycle to get used to the idea. When you set off for a party, you go to it rather than it comes to you. And when everyone is inside your house you can't talk to anyone properly because your peripheral vision is working much harder than your central vision and you're watching to see who needs a drink, who doesn't have anyone to talk to and who is just coming through the door. I wish I knew some party tricks. Tricks like knowing how to end conversations without seeming rude even though you're still in the same room as the person you were talking to, and how to catch someone's eye and greet them yet continue the conversation you were having with someone else.

I much prefer parties to Facebook though. At least at parties you know who you're talking to and can tell whether they're listening or not.

The Magic Faraway Tree

Clicking on the 'next blog' link at the top of this page reminds me of reading Enid Blyton's story The Magic Faraway Tree. The tree is so tall it disappears into the clouds and at the top of the tree is a ladder that takes Jo, Bessie and Fanny into a different land each time they climb it. And to think when we were at school my sister's teacher banned her from reading Enid Blyton because the biggest word in her books was 'sometimes'.

Give me your memories

What are the ethics of writing about someone else's memory? It's simply expropriation, isn't it? I think so, even if I make it clear I'm writing about someone else. What if I see myself as honouring the person whose memories I'm using? A sort of homage. Or, perhaps more truthfully, I know that if I don't write their memories down, no one else will, including the person whose memories they are. And they're damn good stories. I haven't defined it yet, but I think it's different depending on whether it's poetry or fiction. Non-fiction is altogether something else; it's simply biography.

Morning moon

I saw the moon today, on the morning dog walk. It was large and watery and I tried to drink it so I could have it inside me all day. But then a hill rose and hid it in the trees. That's okay, though, because I know it's safe there.

Old year resolutions

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. There's never anything new I want to start doing at the beginning of a year. I just want to do the same old things. Stop killing animals. Stop killing the planet. Stop the human race from killing itself. Maybe this year, though, I will do something different after all. Maybe I'll actually start trying to do something about all this stuff.