Monday, November 29, 2010

Anger part 2

But the whole world’s a heartache and most people seem to have smiles chiseled into their faces, so none of that, nor all those UN statistics or crime-page newspapers explain my anger, do they?

It just feels good to let it out sometimes, and when I was little I guess it got me what I wanted. It was easier to give the kid a treat than hear her scream. Mother couldn't stand to see me suffer even a little bit. She still can't, and that’s why she won't visit. She sends me letters that read like Jehovah's Witness pamphlets. The word 'Jesus' appears so frequently I started counting. Her last letter, a four-pager, had 46 'Jesus'es, and 16 'pray's.

And I try. I’m not just humouring her either. I remember how she was before Jesus. She cried all the time. Never in front of people. She'd excuse herself from the dinner table and go to the bathroom and let rip these heaving, gutteral sobs in stucatto bursts. It sounded kind of like Eddie Murphy's laugh.

Father completely ignored it. He'd cut into his steak or pork or whatever and pop a little piece into his mouth and chew like his teeth were on fire. He probably counted his chews - 50 or a hundred times or whatever. He'd swallow with an exaggerated gulp and yell, "Honey! This is delicious. Truly extraordinary!"

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Thursday, November 25, 2010


Something very new I'm working on:

I thought my anger would place me well in this angry world. But like two magnetic norths the world and I could never quite come together. I swung at it and swung at it and never caught anything but air, landed on my face as often as kept my feet.

Dr. Hattie is always at me about where the anger comes from, and I just tell her, "Inside." She calls bullshit and I know it is, but it feels that way at the time, like a car wreck inside of me, an exploding Hollywood car wreck only you never see it coming from the outside. Inside there’s a buildup, two different drivers at a party having a few too many. But fuck me if I know how it all got started. Dr. Hattie might as well ask me how the big bang got started.

"Inside," I say again, and she calls bullshit again. "Outside then," I say, but she just frowns at me. I frown back. Outside is the God’s honest truth. I don’t want to giver her my sob story. It's a cop out isn’t it? Or maybe that’s what she wants. I can tell her about Dad’s drinking, Mum’s born again high-handed bullshit preaching after years of openly cheating on her husband and letting daycares and schools raise me. Would I be this angry if children's aid social workers had taken me away?

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Life Lessons

Hi folks, I have been swamped, working on a nonfiction book called Green Souls (coming out Fall 2011). Thought I'd share a little teaser from the first chapter, see what you all think:

Michel Desjardins' first major life lesson was about excess. "My father has never liked excess," he tells me. "To be excessive is to waste, and therefore to abuse the resource."

The way to avoid that abuse, according to Dr. Desjardins the senior, is to take care of the resource yourself. Despite being a busy professional, the good doctor has always taken the time to tend his own garden and cut his own wood.

"That had a tremendous influence on me," Michel says, "though it took me a long time to appreciate the lesson."

His second major life lesson, passed down from his grandparents, was this: get ahead, find a better life than this tough one we toiling farmers have. Be a skilled professional, not an unskilled labourer. Make your fortune in the knowledge industries and take the world, not just the good earth, into your hands. Buy a bigger house and a better car.

These were the contradictory lessons that were eventually passed on to young Michel, so it is no surprise that his midlife crisis, brought on by the political defeat of his employer, left him soul-searching. Even though his father was a simple man, Michel Desjardins was raised thinking he had to do better, to carry forward the legacy of an optometrist. To get the letters of a legal professional, and to shape his city’s and then his province’s destiny in the new economy. He hadn’t taken the time to look back.

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