Here’s a thing I’d like to do, in collaboration with you guys – some I know, lots I don’t – who read this blog.
This idea came to me out of ten years of astonishingly terrible experiences with people who I’d been close to for a very long time. I’ve done at least a partial inventory of what happened: there were big money fights, betrayals, a flat tire on the 407, illness, deep lies, shameful disrespect of self and other, triangulations, abuses of power, several counsellors, epic misunderstandings, two kayaks, petty and powerful punishments, lots of lawyers, appraisers, fires, storms, a Jungian therapist, at least one great lake but maybe three, hammers, guilt, exhaustion, embedded ancestral control issues, and plenty of old family furniture, old books, obscure memories, inheritances…
There were two cars but three license plates, an arm injury, breakups, new songs, broken friendships, cedar shakes, a dentist, six large windows from Sundridge, a new bridge made of books, 3 gifted walnuts from a squirrel friend, seven binders of journal articles, a new cabin, 30,000 km of road, broken connections, new connections, three howls in the night, an old bothy, two perfectly healthy but nevertheless felled trees, a polydactyl cat; there was exile and isolation…
….all adrift without anchor, all seeking a new story.
In retrospect and inspired by Foucault, I can see some telling things that were missing. If there had been more laughter, for example, there might not have been so much illness.
Comedy is the missing thing that most applies to this new project. I want to put it back in to the story, and see whether this might lead us all forward and through, smiling.
A re-make of the story cake, if you will. With better ingredients.
For example, here’s the set up for Re-tell vignette number 1: Thanksgiving.
Protagonist: Pamela, a 50-year old artist (straight, white, female colonial), now living cheaply and illegally in her studio after leaving her abusive husband. She is relieved and exhausted, determined to build a new autonomous life for herself. Her best friend is a polydactyl cat named Knuckles.
Bystander: Frank, a very intelligent, often belligerent anarchist with mental health issues who prefers to live on the street. He is an excellent horticulturist, and is addicted to Listerine.
Antagonist: Pamela’s Great-Great-Great-Half-Aunt Margery, Matriarch of the Industrial Patriarchy, and Active Ghost, who has grown in subtle power through the 100+ years of her hauntings in town. She is judge, jury and sentencer for anyone whose actions run against the grain, and has the ability to extract punishment for any wrongdoings that offend her sensibilities. She is an early colonial, and lesbian, though she would never admit either of those things.
The story-cake piece comes in my next post, your part comes after. Stay with me.