“ For when all else is done, only words remain. Words endure.” – Kate Mosse, The Winter Ghosts
A recent article in one of the only free newspapers left in the city caught my eye, describing a worrisome new normal – there are people, even a few with good paying jobs, who are finding themselves living in all matter of vehicles, some in cars, vans or tent trailers. In the east end of the city near an old work place of mine, 44 vehicles were noted to have signs of recent habitation, city officials are aware of at least 100 such vehicles housing the ghosts of citizens past who have lost their homes due to high rents, job losses or just plain bad luck. Forced to park on our streets, they live without the day to day luxuries that most of us enjoy just a breath away.
Here in the West End, not far from my apartment building, there are at least three vans that never seem to move from their borrowed parking spots, in all my wanders I’ve not once come across any of these souls, new neighbours living close by without a fixed address. One of the vans recently moved from another West End street, this unknown gentleman’s plight unfolding on our local news, tenure on a quiet street ended by city officials because of complaints from others living in the same downtown neighbourhood – I remember seeing his van parked on that street for years, I hope he’ll be able to live more peacefully in ours.
In my warm rooms scented with the aroma of freshly brewed tea, I tell myself I’m still one of the living, although the threat of losing my home in this idyllic corner of the world has the potential to render me ghost-like among my books, music and films, flimsy mortar against the winds of change. And so I write, compelled to capture every nuance before it becomes mere nostalgia among the living and the dead.
“Words are wind.” – George R.R. Martin, A Feast of Crows