“ By writing at the instant, the very heartbeat of life is caught.” – Walt Whitman
Thunder is rumbling just above me in the now-darkened sky as I sit in the jewel-like parklet not far from where I live. The city has installed two flat grey aluminium tables, each with it’s own black metal chairs bolted onto the interlocking cement bricks, the tables are positioned on an angle to one another, creating an intimate nook among the many trees and blooming planters, a perfect spot for writing down my thoughts. Terry and I have brought delicious take-out sushi to these tables, inspired by seeing the odd person sitting here with a glass of wine and an open book nearby. I’ve just come from a meditative walk through the forest and along the seawall, the summer-like temperatures this afternoon resulting in a good many of us being out and about. Many are passing through the parklet as I write, perhaps heading to the beach or making their way home; in fact, just moments before I sat down, I was curious and happy to pet a young Bengal cat as he was being walked home, protesting all the way because he wanted to stay and explore through the jungle-like lushness, I was sad when he eventually went on his way. I had only recently seen a picture of a Bengal cat in the newspaper and was struck by how exotic they look, this one had gorgeous dark striping and big golden eyes. As the odd raindrop began to fall, I headed home, happy to have found such a lovely writing spot.
With the warmer days of summer beckoning, I find myself seeking out new places for writing, making sure to always bring my notebook and pen with me, lately I’ve found myself writing while sitting on benches high above the dark blue water of English Bay or on the various benches one can find on any given corner here in the West End. And if I find myself at my own desk with a summer breeze wafting in through my open balcony door and a freshly made cup of tea (today’s tea is a fragrant blend of good black and green leaves), I will always find inspiration, just as I did the other day…
A curious thing happened on that day while I was working on my laptop, a sheet of white paper flew by the window very fast, so fast, I thought it was a seagull and I quickly stood near the window to get a better look. While I wondered, two more sheets came soaring down – one landed on my Dad’s balcony below me and a neighbour down below on the parking lot waved at me as I stepped out on my balcony to get a closer look, he was pointing to more paper lying on the cement. I could see that the papers had neatly typed lines on them, some were full sheets and others were folded. No one seemed to notice that their writing had been swept up by an errant breeze and deposited all over. I imagined an empty coffee cup near the few pages that were left untouched, a pencil nearby ready to be picked up for editing, the unknown writer living above me having been called away from a pleasant task.
Later, when I came home from an errand or two, I made sure to come in the back way in case some of those papers could still be found in the parking lot – the romance and mystery of this unknown writing calling to me. There were still two pieces of paper lying there, one folded and the other, a full sheet, I picked up the full sheet and began to read…the words, “my red viola” jumped out at me from a sea of words that seemed to be wrapped up in a fairy tale that I desperately wanted to read but knew I couldn’t, these were not my words and they were better left as a mystery, allowed to finish their journey that began by that long ago breeze. This is why I love to write among the many spaces between now and then, chasing fairy tales and petting the wild if they cross my path.
Journal Entry: December 21, 2004 – Olas Altas
A nice morning walk to Olas Altas and breakfast at Cafe San Angel to catch up on writing. I keep wanting to journal write only to find I’m relaxing on the king-sized bed in our “Paloma del Mar” hotel studio watching an English movie with Spanish sub-titles or catching up with Superman on “Smallville”. We live on a street that is full of activity and delicious smelling food stands – I am easily distracted! We can also see the cruise ships arriving and departing from our balcony – the tourist attraction, the pirate ship called the “Marigalante”, is beautifully lit up at night and we are treated to a fireworks show off the boat every evening.
At the end of our street, Calle Brasil, is a big sports park – there are several soccer and baseball fields and a running/walking track. There is even a small area for the Mexican boys to practice boxing. It is surrounded by beautiful palms; we’ve walked there several times to catch some soccer and we also bought a delicious piece of flan at a little street fair that was operating for the holiday season. We find the open spaces at the sports park very peaceful. On our way home recently, on Calle Brasil, from shopping at “Mega”, a very big and bright grocery store, we observed a street party – people were celebrating the season with a shrimp cook out. There was a large black pot steaming on the street with lots of friends and neighbours milling about. It added a vibrant note to the neighbourhood.