Travel Diary Day One: May 15th, Montreal

I have just returned from a trip to Montreal for Dee & Freida's ish-wedding, (they eloped last year), and Madison for Karen & Pär 's ish-wedding, (they eloped 20 years ago), and WisCon, a feminist sci-fi writer's convention. I tried to keep a journal of the trip, an attempt to work towards fixing my awful stillness, sadness, and silence.

I feel like I should be taking more pictures, the signs are all French, there are blue and white flags flapping from storefronts, but it has been a very long day, stretched longer by my restless, nearly sleepless night and the dilation effect of crossing two time-zones. The plane ride was choppy, but comfortable all the same. Not enough passengers to fill every seat, so there was room to stretch, room enough to feel like we weren't crammed in a can. How flat this country is, how bleak, I thought, looking over the plains, but then the lakes began to appear. The lakes that freckle the country are still frozen stiff, even in May, small, tidy sheets of white that gleamed like I used to imagine diamonds are supposed to, blazing with the sunshine even as our shadow touched them.

My friends walk arm in arm, a married couple, beautifully affectionate, sweet and pretty. I adore them both, they make me ache to know the language better, so that I could be as quick and fluent with them as they are with each other. I remember their wedding, the sharp joy they gave out, like flares from lighthouses. They live together now by the Olympic Stadium in an apartment I had never been to before, shared with four cats, each with a distinctive personality, a greenhouse worth of plants, and books deeply piled on every flat surface. We are coming back from dinner, I’m to sleep in the front room, on a currant coloured velvet couch surrounded by novels, paintings, plants, and more art. It’s glorious. The building is old in a way that no buildings in the west are old, with painted over wallpaper raised in a repeating pattern of griffons and urns and dark wooden doors inset with stained glass. They are on the top floor, the stairs narrow, circular, and set with stone. It makes me think of castles and timeworn foreign movies. Someone shoots a gun, there are footsteps, someone running, but all you see is a hand on the rail. I love everything about it. I love everything about them. And underneath it all, a constant, the welcoming perfumed scent of sweet-smelling incense.

going across the border without proper ID

My weekends out of town have pushed me out of the habit of writing. Potential words are constantly spilling from my mouth and mind, but not landing where they’ll stain page or paper and stick around awhile and have a drink. Instead I find myself busy and busier, living a pace just this side of insane, and never in front of a computer when I need it most, but wrapped instead around chocolate curls and blonde exhaustion, tangled in too many things to set out straight.

The best I can do is point form after-the-fact, small glimpses into moments that stuck, like snapshots taken from a moving car, anecdotes I tell over tea or as we walk, hands carving out the expressions in our bodies as we did this or that, laughter infectious, haltered to speech.

Memories of the Mercury, wrapped in cigarette smoke and surrounded by black, dancing with Dee like the first time we really met, physical strangers in L.A., when he was still from London, and we had never lived in Montreal. Of Tony curled in my lap, days later, slightly drunk at Grahame and Becca’s, explaining ‘performing’ as my partner in front of my mother at Gasworks park, “See my patience!” He says, “how clever and kind a teacher I am! How carefully I’m showing Nick how to spin these poi, how I’m responsible, understanding. Look how perfect I am for your daughter, because I’m AWESOME!” Of Folklife and music and Richard’s music just for us, letting us play, the video we took, the glitchy, delightful beat. I think of Rafael dipping me in time to marimba music, all wrapped in tie-dye and a purple skirt, and Tony on the ground leaning forward to kiss me precisely on the lips, as if the entire moment had been perfectly rehearsed. I think of standing in front of the Circus Contraption audience, faking desire, shuddering with it, breaking my plastic glass with the heated deep breaths of my theatrical orgasm, ready to beat the band. The warmth and depth of my smile. Of flying my pocket Pirate kite, of limping gladly, of free hug signs and breakfast and pliers and giving a necklace away. Of sound effects and posed photographs and doing the tango with only my hand, two fingers for legs, stepping along the ground so prettily it was like we could see the invisible held-in-teeth roses glowing alive in our love.

he programs AI’s that predict the weather.

“I have it in my hands, but I don’t understand it. Mirah peers over my shoulder, grins in my periphery, and pokes at it. The amber clouds react to the gravity of her digit instantly, particles drifting into a new configuration of spin. As she removes the finger, it spirals back into something like its original shape, spitting out loops of fire and tiny shrapnel as it goes.”

The illustrious Dr. Dee, best friend, random adventurer, weather scientist, cross-dresser, and martial arts expert, had one of my favourite of his short stories published on 365 Tomorrows today!

ps. it’s one I named! yay!

miss you too

I like that he tries.

My twisted physicist friend Dee will be in town from Montreal from the 5th to the 9th. I expect to be encroaching upon his time and calling him “Doktor” as much as possible during these few days as I haven’t seen him in years, (somewhere I have pictures of him burning the only real-copy of his thesis). Until recently he lived in the UK and I like him more than almost anyone, so if I have any plans with you in this time period, say so now so I can figure things out ahead of time.

James will also be swinging through, though now he and Dee now live in the same city, he will be arriving on the 9th. James will have less time for shenanigans as he’s visiting with family in Comox for the majority of his stay, but we are planning on having at least one Everyone-Jump-Him evening. Further details will be posted once they are known.

(Hi Blake!)