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is motion on a monitor, a building on a streetcorner, a table, not everything is in color. Sometimes words on a page have to do, can conjure up the same feel, like notes can translate into music. She knows that she has to let go of the notion of hierarchy, a ceramic pot does not necessarily outdo a poem. Some individuals put down words, ever so hesitantly, others are formgivers, make things. And in the best of worlds, somewhere in the lanes and streets of utopia, there is time enough and talent enough, mastery and will enough to do both. She sits back, counts her pages, is utterly exhausted, writing for hours on end seems to become utterly trying. --Her tea is finished and she should venture out, but she knows that it is utterly cold outside, so she stretches the minutes she will spend here putting all her words down trying to pierce the border of insight and mere observation, trying to write a book far away from protagonist versus antagonist, literature that is more like a line, though anything timebased is flowing from point A to point B, and is thus catapulting a narrative forward, captivating or boring, storylines without drama, without shedding of blood, without visible conflict. The lights near the window are superfluous. She ponders whether she should leave this place, someone complained. No one puts time limits on seating in Kerrisdale, the words flow away, flee her paper. She still has to write this down. --She now sits down in Mc Donald’s pondering whether this is good for writing or not, will the words taste generically, too greasy, will she be sued by Mc Donald’s for saying 141


this. Of course not. It is afternoonish, sometimes on the other side of five o’clock. Yesterday she had a salad for dinner, nothing but arugula, and some fried goatcheese. Much steeper price than the cheeseburger, she had here. She will buy an orange or something of that kind. She has to lose weight, to be able to climb stairs. Something like that. She avoids physical exertion, sits merely in coffeeshops and fast food places, has tea, sandwiches, coffeecakes. Like a queen. She likes the squares on the walls of this place, all colourful, all nice. She draws at Mc Donald’s, she writes at Mc Donald’s. This place is kind of like a nursery, all schoolchildren, all technicolor décor. Not good nutrition. So she heard. Clogging arteries. Something like that. She will eat healthy, this week she had apples and oranges. A banana. It is a new world out there. Full of salad and fruit. Five servings, five servings. In order to climb up stairs. Maybe the problem is with all those stairs. If we lived in a stairless world, a very flat world, we did not need to be a certain weight. Her insights are accelerated, they come and go. A horde of teenagers rumble down the stairs. On the other side of the street, there is Pratt. Maybe she can take classes, workshops. She doubts it. She will seek out lectures, free things. Walk in Central Park. Which is somewhere in the center. At this time she just stays in Chelsea, feeling kind of alone in her lifestyle. At the ceiling there are easter eggs hanging and mutedly colored crepe paper thingies. She is totally clueless what they are called in English, so they are plain thingies, skinny paper, twirled around, bunny shapes hanging, eggs hanging, as shapes, as plastic eggs, some painted paper eggs, some christmas decoration. This Mc Donald is a hub of creativity, and that is not necessarily a sarcastic remark. She writes away, forever, forever, sprinkles her words with pauses, with repetitions, tries to infuse


14 2 music, rhythm into the language. The music is merely instrumental, no specific style. Trying to appeal to as many people as possible. Sanitized music. Her tea is getting cold. She received a tea, without teabag, but milk, so now she slurps hot water with tea. Might as well, she feels warm and toasty. She should take the subway, to Times square, roam around midtown manhattan, find an internet cafÊ. All that chelsea has to offer are gay clubs (catering to males) and laundromats. And lots and lots of tiny dogs slagging their owners behind them. Or being brought from place A to place B. like handbags. She writes away, notices the round lamps with red edges on the wall. An old man is looking through his lotto receipts. A woman checks her cellphone. She feels she should write more. Poetry, shortstories. Political commentaries. Useful stuff. Fascinating words, that resonate. With others, supposedly. Writing should not be just an exercise of putting words down, it has to be meaningful, purposeful. Not literature for literature’s sake. Who makes up these rules? Must be some white male mastermind. It is always one of them. Luckily she totally lacks biases. None whatsoever. Somehow she feels her prose drifting into lower structures, lower lifeforms, sketchy territories. The words she uses, the words she can use. Too many holes in her vocabulary, there are only so many combinations of wording she can come up with. She thinks that English not being her first language might enable her to use this tool (the language) more virtuously. Like a musician making a sculpture. She chuckles. She might have overused this allegory, might have milked it dry. Outside a child skoots by in a green parka and a helmet. Here she sits far away from people motioning by, so she does not have as many


143 stimuli, that might make her write. This place makes one become introspective, but at this time it seems depressing and stuporinducing. On the other side of the street she can see Dunkin Donuts. Ah, donuts, reason enough to leave your country and emigrate. donuts, burgers, malls. So very New York. Suburbia in its omnipresence. She ponders. What to write, what to write. This is book 6 and there are still so many pages to be written, to be colored in all the tints, all the hues of this winter/summer. She has to write to interrupt this environment for the better. Or, maybe, just merely for pure fun. No one posits a theme, no one posts an essay title. She can write, whatever she wants, fly wherever she wants. She follows the words, wherever they take her, wanders after them. This is not a collaborative process, it is one lonely steppenwolf making its way. Through the world. In April 2008. Here in midtown Manhattan. Or downtown. whatever the categorization might be. --She put down 26 pages so far on this april second, looks up at the grid on the ceiling on the other side, which is intriguing, in a grid, and she had not noticed it before. It is definitely more industrial, not technicolor, not sugary. Clean lines, muted greens, yellow lines, white, lit rectangles. She has to stop, should stop. How much longer can one write relentlessly, churning out word after word. far removed from genre- consideration. Unclassified sentences. Piling up of words. Lines as abstract as the drawings above her seat. Lines that motion, that convey interuptedness, fragmentation contained. All these notebooks are awash with her words. She is tired, exhausted. Her hand is cramped, physically the flow of words has to stop. For now. Until tomorrow. Back in one of these


14 4 coffeeshops. --she picks up her pen again and starts writing, this time she wears her glasses, thus she can write smaller letters and use less paper, less ink. Her main focus when penning down her prose, are logistics, physical layout of her writing, the contents seems to be fading, the writing itself, the physical inscribing of letters supercedes meaning. It is different when typing, one tries to find the letters, the hammering away at the tastatur is so much more physical, like jotting down letters, pushing buttons, like shooting hoops, though not with the whole body. Writing longhand is more sedentary, more reflective, one writes and at the same time listens, inhales the words, it is more passive, it is as if a story is told to her and she listens. Outside, the day comes to an end, shadows must be longer by now, it is after seven. The two women who look so much alike, so much like New York, are still sitting in their booth, talking. The old man with the long beard is still sitting in his booth talking to someone she cannot see. She herself is writing and her elbow is starting to hurt. She has to rest this, start over tomorrow morning to throw these seeds on the ground, all these words on paper. Down on paper. Relentlessly. --so now it is wednesday, april, numero 3, in 2008. she finds herself once more in a coffeeshop, people burst in, burst out. The woman behind the counter was borderline rude, italian tourists put their USA guide book back in their bag, a Russian man talks on his cell. She feels out of place, in place. Writes away. Outside, one of these Avenues, 8th,


9th or 7th, trucks in the middle of town, small NYPD cars, yellow cabs, people walking by 14 5 with strollers, with dogs, cars idling, honking, breaking, hecticness is here, music very rhythmic, very soothing, calming. She watches people, glimpsing up at photographing equipment, a woman in one crutch, italian speaking, the city, the city. She has to go back to her small apartment, in a very quiet neighbourhood, opposite of a school, reminds her of Hamburg, Zurich, something of the European kind. When she lies in her bed, she can see the street, it does not really feel, as if she is inside. The treelike plant in the middle of the room makes the place feel more like a treehouse, private sphere amalgamated with public sphere. She writes away, writes, writes, all day long, a person near her is looking through “casting� ads. This seems to be the hub for artists, people who want to sell their talent. She writes away, wondering why there is no term like fledgeling writer. Like fledgeling actor, emerging artist. What exactly does fledgeling mean? And is it fledgeling or fledging? Words, words. The rhythm of the music is suddenly annoying, piercing through her body, needling her. The world goes by, outside, she feels apprehensive, antsy, George Brown though feels good and exclaims that at the top of his lungs. Age, age, he is dead now. So many people are dead now. A woman comes in with her child. Passage of life. Outside she can see the sign for NYSC - new york sports club, it is round and red and from here just above the starbucks sign, two round signs. Everyone here is speaking Italian. There must be a reason, she ponders, feels like in Milan. Where she has never been.


Words, words, she writes incessantly, watches her obsession flow on paper, while the words start swimming, while she listens to Italian that she does not understand, that has a certain regional dialect, she does not speak the language, but can figure that out. Like 146 Québécois French being different from Parisian. She should have studied languages, but she knew them already, so there was nothing to study. She recognizes a person she had seen in another coffeeshop two days ago, this is becoming pathetic. Or maybe, she is carving out a neighbourhood feel, the little chelsea niche, here. A tall, very beautiful man walks by, looks inside, looks at her. She writes away. She definitely has met the man and woman in the other coffeeshop. Small world, small world. Like she met another person from the restaurant in the coffeeshop. Because all these people are eating out, all live in this neighbourhood. She laughs. Today is not her day of deep insights, she just assembles trivial observations, like beads on a necklace, and calls it something, “literary pursuits”. She ponders, whether the sign of “New York Sports Clubs” is literary pursuit. When does writing seize to be just that: notes, when is it literature. How many words, how many sentences. Does there have to be a perfect narrative curve? Her animation prof. would argue “Yes”, but he does not count in the scheme of things, he gave her an “F”. Which gives her the freedom to dismiss all his accumulated knowledge, he does not know anything about animation. Or he would not have failed her. Classes, school. So much is so very debatable. She still reels from her substandard grade, tries to assemble the shattered pieces of her damaged scholastic esteem, to weather the blow to her academic career. She is on Academic Probation. At the tender age of 52. This cannot be good. Sour grapes, complaining. Outside the sun is shining, New York is getting ready for noon. This


must be the best time to be here, spring. She has always come here at this time, or in September. Not in summer, which is supposed to be stark heat, pure hell. The music is really rhythmic, motion inducing, some kind of dance. She sits near the coffee - milk 147 half and half place, everyone comes here beside her and takes their stuff. She has to stop and count the pages she put on paper. How many words are enough. To make something readable, to make something publishable? Outside, on the opposite side, is a place called “Breadstix Café”. Breadstix. With an X. Poetry. “x” instead of “cks”. She tries to read something, anything into this deliberate misspelling. But why? etymology, linguistics. Playing with words. The language, any language is so very much alive. Especially if it is in its natural habitat. She plays with words, all day long. Not so much in spoken form, more listening, and writing down. The music jazzes along. fragments of ideas clutter through her mind, there is motion everywhere she looks. a pink building facade on the other side, babyblue diagonalish ceiling. huggs boots that are too light, a brown garbage can. Her eyes wonder, the music takes her through the minutes, gives continuity to her time here, a person with a yellow broom rushes by, very loud, scarringly, people come in and out, she just sees them move out of the corner of her eyes, while she writes, looks at letters developing, while she notices the person in front of her moving his black sneaker up and down, while too light huggs are standing near her in front of the half and half station, now a yellow-shoed person stands there, scary, tattooed. She ponders, what if someone reads this, she jots down observations of total strangers. She should fictionalize stories for them, but is not really able to do so. Lovestories, hatestories. Lovestories are so much more fun, longing, requietedness, nonrequitedness. Definitely she would go for


requitedness, longing for a lover, until the breath inside ceases for a moment, lapses. Wednesday, what is my so very far away, so very longed for creature up to? She would rather write about chairs, tables, buildings, coffeecups – tactile stuff. Who wants to write 14 8 about love, when one can write about buildings, about politics, about current issues? About the red, fluffy boots of the woman who walked by. About the sun outside. The green leaves on the napkin on the brown and beige chequered table. The dreadlocks with white flowers in it, the purple grey sweater, the five thousand sights she registers in the snap of a moment. Everything and anything, pinned down on paper. The coffeemachine is loud and unceasing, venti something. Words have to be put down, fast jottings of this city. She will leave now, she wrote eleven pages already. Take her notebook, venture somewhere else, write something else. In New York City. On April, 3rd, 2008. --she sits down in this corner of a tiny little foodcourt in front of her the yellow wall and blue linoleum stuff on the table, a kfc poster in front of her, she is sitting on something barstool like, beige woodeny, the seat is square has a black back, trash cans are on her right side, lots of noise behind her, children’s voices, a woman talking, she had a tiny hot dog, with mustard, dijon mustard, she is tired from too much walking, she could be a weekly winner, so the colonel says, she walked through 5th. Avenue and Broadway, she went into a Radisson and emailed friends and family bragging about New York City, i am here, you are not, thus I am better, they were not impressed, at all, the nerve. She looks at the chicken poster, crispy beige, crispy brown on blue, brown, blue, going with the blue


of the table, the beige of the wall. She always thought KFC is red and white, it seems to go for blue and beige. She writes away, as if her tomorrow, her tomorrows depend on it. She looked at the box again that advertizes Writing Workshops, Gotham Writing Workshops (they are sprinkled all over NYC, she saw them before, on other occasions) 149 and one of the categories that are taught, was “Memoir� – she is wondering if her account of her day-to-days could be memoir, technically not, it is more a travel log book, she looked into directions for filmmakers, actually for shortfilms to be part of a contest for a mobile-phone downloading site, e-phone or something, and it was all about constructing a story, conflict, context, theme, very step by step, constructing a narrative, on the other hand, there was definitely room for defying the rules, totally, completely. If all stories told in this world were non-narrative, traditional narration would be experimental. Stories, narration. The person beside her looks at her with big eyes, why is she writing? Or, maybe, he is just pondering something, he has an oversized cellphone, something in between blackberry and cellphone, with a yellow lining, something from somewhere else. She is writing away, listening to the noiseclutter, a child cries, the wall in front of her has blue scratches, there are all kinds of subtle lines in the yellow of the wall, texture. all the garbage cans here are like that colour, too, it must be the decor of the foodcourt. She writes away, looking at lines forming, letters forming, it becomes meditative at a certain point, automatic, like the body is taking over, it becomes like treeplanting, when the body takes over and puts the seeds into the ground, she never treeplanted, but an animator in her class made a film about that, and his voice was commenting on the animation and talking about how the body takes over and goes through the motions, semiautomatically,


a hybrid, an amalgamation of body and mind, the same is happening with her writing, she puts down word after word, automatically, in a zen-kind of state. Driving is like that, walking is, we do it unconsciously, running up and down stairs. reflexes. She ponders, 150 had a conversation this morning at the pratt institute with a graphic design student, she was from Korea and had so many interesting things to say, A shimmer of connection, an exchange of information. The person beside her rudely smushes her bag, without saying “excuse me”, how very rude. Like Stefanie in “Full House” would say, “How Rude”. So this is the big city, actually a big city, like all big cities. Urban environment, people talking, lots of noise, songs of the city, downtown. She writes about that, she makes animations about that. The smell of fried chicken whiffing through this place does not necessarily induce great thoughts, this might not be necessarily an environment conducive to great insights. Chicken, Hamburger, Hot Dogs, somehow the antidote to poetry. Poetry of the 21st. century. Mirroring urbanisme, dead animals put into bite-size, sustainability. All the time these kind of issues croach into her writing, slant the melody of her prose, try to preach. She is not really able to break away from this kind of quest for purpose, that might eventually inhibit her from good writing. She fishes in her handbag for a coughdrop. It is getting chilly in here. Not chilly in a temperature kind of way, more in the shuffeling of tables, people cleaning up, a whiff of hostility towards the crazy lady writing away. She is well aware that writing and drawing in places like this might be frowned upon, writers should produce their stuff tucked away in offices, animators should sit in front of lighttables. On the other hand, a place like this is so overstimulated, that one does not even have to search for subjectmatter. Everything is subjectmatter, the


mere “being here� has to automatically result in great work. Words are formed by listening to strangers yell, gossip, chairs shuffeling, the man beside her clapping the tablets, in a kind of accusative way, you write, I work, as if writing is less physically 15 1 exhausting, it is not. It takes a lot out of her, her hair is turning grey. She should change her seat, get a tea, look at people, look at the blue-glistening seats that are rowed up like the awning of a building, like wrought-iron, like lines in space, defying gravity, courting beauty. The person behind her is yellingly talking, she does not understand a word. He sure has a lot to say, in the same way that she sure has a lot of words to write. He talks, so very forcefully, she is taking notes. The voice talks, she writes. It is that simple. She tries to figure out, how many more pages she has to write today, will she finish scribbling away in this notebook? Her letters are not cursive today, they are upright standing little soldiers. She feels anxiety, so she writes straight up, like walking extra straight when facing hostility, enemies. The city seems to undermine her confidence, she feels that too many strangers are around her, in this strange city, in this strange country, so very far away from home. On April 3, 2008. In Midtown Manhattan. In this so very generic Foodcourt, suburbia inside the city. Very strange, very weird. The artificial lighting is getting to her, she cannot look out the window from this seat. All she sees, is her notepad and her hand feverishly inscribing it. This is not insane. Or maybe, it is. She has to stop writing, find a teacup. Or something. How many more notebooks will she fill on this trip. She does not know. Yet.


--she walks up the street, ends up in another fast-food joint, orders a tea and starts writing again. Her table has a lot of texture, is white, more ecru, grey, and has a yellow-golden edge. On the ceiling are blocks with lights in them, very architectural. fast food meets 152 bauhaus. yellow is still everywhere but warmer, contained with elegant, auberginecolored red. People here are nicer, happier. Outside one can see NY rushing by, it is somewhere near Times Square, at least she knows, it is Broadway, the Music is very loud, the person behind her is very loud, too. Talking into his cellphone. He is yelling. It is a cellphone. He was distinguished, polite and very yellingly. The music is loud. Her tea is getting cold. There is an upstairs here, she should go up the stairs to get a better view. She is sitting here, where the view is not so fascinating, pondering if there is really a hierarchy of views. Which view is spectacular, which one is not? Who determines that? Oh, the philosophical questions that are simply induced by watching too much Seinfeld, too much, way too much. The old man at the other table is busy talking to the old woman at the other table, he is shamelessly picking her up. They must be both seventy, so maybe it could not be classified as romantic endeavour. She smiles. Lovestory, romance. She knows she reads much too much, into everything. She has to. It is a tool for any writer. To spin a yarn. to philosophize. To construct and deconstruct narratives. To fill notebook after notebook while trying to recognize the song on the overhead, that she can even sing to, word by word. Some kind of cheesy loveanthem. Buses drive by, blue and white ones. This New York Day is so very fresh, buckling up for summer. spring is everywhere. She went into a


Victoria Secret store. It was huge, so very huge. Very feminine. Men were in there, too, very out of place. It was a woman’s world, very pink, very lavender. She looks at the stylized golden Arches in the window, so very elegant, so very stylized. A new, very modern take on golden arches. Or postmodern, postpostmodern. There is a sign on the 15 3 opposite wall, about Choking. What to do, Heimlich Manoeuver, that kind of thing. Her friend in Alamo told her about the restaurant in Danville, where the choking scene in Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed. In Danville, California. She went there everyday, about 15 years ago. Her life, her life. She is so very old. Her tea is getting cold. Cold. Old. Outside New York walks by. Like Kingston used to walk by. On Princess Street. At this point, all these places shrume together, mush into one. She is a stranger in a strange land, she knows that, happily dislocated. Dislocation as status quo, dislocation as deliberately forced lifeform. She likes it, loves it. It comes with a certain whiff towards irresponsibility. Not of the serial killer kind, but of the bettering yourself kind. She eats fruit since her traintravel out of Montreal. She acts her age. She talks to strangers, well, polite, very polite strangers. Central Park should be somewhere near here, so should be Fifth. Avenue. Petula Clark sings, she sings along “downtown” the woman at the other table looks up, downtown, downtown. She will fish her animation out of her basement, get a clearing for the song and start submitting it. Should not be too difficult. She has to research how to do that. At Pratt there is a workshop today about, how to get clearance from the get go. She has to do all that, will do all that. But not yet. At this time, she takes notes, daydreams, manifests that on paper, talks to herself, sings along to songs on the


overhead, in a strange city, in a strange country, on the other side of the world, far, far away, so very, very far away from home. In NYC, on april 3rd 2008. --she is now sitting in her room in the small apartment in chelsea, looking out the window, overseeing the school on the other side of the street. There are leaveless 15 4 branches outside, there is a big mural in blue on the schoolwall. She ponders. Likes pondering. Likes to use the word ponder. Maybe it has something to do with pond. There are daffodils on the table. So very beautiful. She tries to balance her notepad with one hand and write with the other, which is not very comfortable. She should walk out and find a coffeeshop. She walked to the one that is two blocks away, but it was filled to the brim. She wonders, if she can write in here. Not enough going on. Someone laughs in the stairway, cars drive by, ebbing up and down in noise. Changing decibels. She listens to the noise, the scratch her pen makes on paper. She never noticed that before, the noise in the coffeeshops overpowered it, whereas here in the quiet room it is pretty loud. Someone walks by, outside on the pavement. Maybe this paper is thicker and thus the pen screeches while leaving its mark. She is waiting. For the sun to go down. Passage of time in NYC. Passage of life. She writes all day long, walks through the city, explores all the different sights. Talks to the Korean student at Pratt, tastes different samples in the grocery store, sea scallops in Cajun sauce, half cooked cauliflowers with red pepperflakes, dry fruit, banana, guava, apple, cashewnut, she did not try the breads in 4 different oliveoils. Outside there is a U-Haul truck parked she can look down at it. A man


walks his dog or the dog walks him. She likes the quietness of this street, the haulted noise of the city and the calmness before the storm, that permeates this little Street between 8th. and 9th. Avenue, where cars roar. This street is so very quiet, even the walking on the floors of the neighbours is audible. Something outside clacks constantly, but she is clueless what it is. She should fish for a cough drop in her purse. She has to write a story with a beginning, with an end. Some middlepart, some structure. Something being pushed 15 5 into literary conventions. Who started writing? Homer? Someone on caves, a cavewriter. There is so very much she doesn’t know. ignorance is bliss. She definitely feels bliss. She should, could watch TV. Listen to laughtracks, to something political. The news that someone chose for her. Her news is strolling through this strange city, exploring. She went to Macy’s pondering why it was in the news that it shut down, no bankruptcy here. She walked by a gallery that explored abstraction. It was beautiful. She still writes and her pen, knock on wood, seems to last forever. the same pen, she gave a beautiful, amazing presentation about, a product analysis. In her ID-course. It was really good, not your typical powerpoint, but presentation as artform, as performance. Which it always is, anyways. She loves New York, well, milton glaser makes her do that. She looks at the street lights outside, two yellow dots. on the wall, above the mural. Two black figures walk by, towards 9th. Avenue. Something clacks all the time. She has to go up, do things, find her coughdrop, but she is mesmerized by the task of writing and cannot stop. A churchbell


rings. She feels strange, a bird still sings. Someone clasps with pots and pans. She feels strange in this strange apartment. She likes it is all yellow, brown, orange. Very nicely colorcoordinated. Like an oasis. And the monstrous palmtree meets Ficus is so very overpowering. Like the old growth trees in tofino. The tree definitely dominates the apartment, it is as if the rooms are built around the tree. As if the tree was there first and everything else came later. She wonders if others will come and visit her here. If she can write while she has visitors. She saw an interview on the telly about the woman who left Canada, left New York to move to Paris, to write. The change of space made her write. 15 6 She left home and wrote. There is definitely something to that, she never ever wrote this much in her whole life. But she is writing non-stop since Mid-february. Since Kingston happened. She wrote in Toronto, too and in Vancouver, on granville island. But the sheer quantity of output here on the east coast amazes her. Might be quantity over quality, but usually quantity begets quality. Courts quality. She ponders away. While writing away. While sitting here looking over at her purse where the coughdrops are. This is so insane. She starts tapping her foot on the table. The heater is warming up too much. Her landlord wrote something about turning down the heater when leaving the apartment. But this heater, her hand leans on, seems to be central heating. This apartment fascinates her. It has these very mysterious idiosyncrasies, the shower knobs have a life of their own, the lightswitch is somehow mysterious, she never knows if it is really turned down, switched off. She has no clue, where to put the garbage, so she lets it amass in the garbage can. Outside on the streets, there are garbage bags and garbage cans and she does not know if


they are for everyone. She has never lived in someone else’s apartment, in someone else’s reality. She likes it. It is very spartan and she likes that kind of unclutteredness. Outside it is getting dusky, not yet dark though. The day embraces the night, New York falls asleep. The city that never sleeps. Funny place. She changes her place and moves near the table. It is cold here. She will go for a short walk. Through Chelsea. She has to be back here at 9 o’clock. But it is still 7:33. So she has an ample amount of time. And it would do her quite good to run away from her pen. This is pure insanity, all these words clumped together in her head. Pushed out on the paper. She has to physically stop this pen from writing. She wishes, she could draw again, but the synapses seem to fire 15 7 differently now. Write. Write. She will bundle up and go for a walk. Explore the neighbourhood. And, as always, this her “journal entry” ends with the date, the place. April 3/ 08/ NYC. and a curl. --she finds herself again in a fast-food-joint. This one is very futuristic meets retro, very chrome sleek mix of vegas and diner, all the shiny surfaces remind her of space films made in the 50’s and 60’s. This is a place near Madison Garden, near Penn Station. She wonders whether she should use her time in this city writing or whether she should roam around and explore sights. She enjoys this more, it is so much more authentic, she takes in the city, subway, the six kids playing cards, gesticulating loudly, the three ones talking away at the other table. All seem like field-trip-kids, well behaved, living in their own little world. Where cards matter, motion and the reflection in the mirrors on the ceiling


matter, awe matters. Where life is there to be explored, sights to be seen. Where there is so much extra time to write down, whatever jumps into one’s consciousness. Her pen is ending its lifecycle, it scratches along the paper without much inkflow, it gets harder to write and more force is needed, with worse outcome. She skipped a page, not having the best tools irritates her. Mark Twain did not write about his struggle with writing, he wrote about the world. She basically writes about herself, again and again. Her trials and tribulations, in their simplicity, their banality. Paces of an ordinary existence, day to day life. For her everything is new, everything is so utterly exiting. She changes her Fineliner to a ballpen, because the fineliner is inkless, at the edges of inkiness. She lets it rest, maybe the inkflow will come back after resting horizontally. She slightly remembers that 158 happening, she does not really know why. The pen was so thoroughly analyzed by her in her product analysis, what the lines signify, who the targetaudience was. In the end, she was the enduser, because it was her favourite pen. Her tea is getting cold. The fieldtripkids leave. Someone barks at them: “Get Ready, get ready.” an authority figure in the making, a future leader of the pack. She sits in her seat and writes. Following is not in the cards, neither is leading. Taking notes is good, so very good. The tea is getting cold. It is fun to watch the fieldtripgroup, they all talk at once. And trouble in paradise, one attacks the other one, pushes him down, they play, laugh, look at her. She is the mom, any mom. The teacher yells at them “Can we go out the door.” She chuckles how anyone presumes that she is some kind of authority figure merely by the way she looks. She does not have time to yell at kids and put them in line. She is not some police woman. She has raised her children, those days are over. She has so much more important things to do,


she has to write, to draw, to build. To play. And hopefully get paid for that. All the coffeeshops in Chelsea were filled with aspiring writers, aspiring actors. None of the fastfoodjoints is, no one here types away on her laptop. No one draws. Outside buses drive by, the world drives by. A securityguard in an auberginecolored blazer is overseeing the hustle and bustle, the commotion of this place. He looks utterly bored, devotedly chewing his gum. She writes away, sometimes spelling out her words loudly. She loves this place, it is very clean. Constantly someone is mopping the floor. The wall beside her is red honeycombs, dot after dot, very tiny, with some metal separating the honeycomb-dots. She thinks of the Bee-movie, this is a red honeycomb-world. Like the blue horses in Art, these are red honeycombs. The blue horses, Klee, Klimt, not Klimt, 15 9 der blaue Reiter, she forgets her arthistory. Not good for an artstudent with one more semester to go until graduation. She writes away, leaving the domain, the country of visual arts to paint with words, to draw with words. Her audience will thus be smaller, Readers are few and far between, not that many, whereas anyone can watch an image, follow a film. Our world is so very visual and we are visual beings. We tend to look at the world around us, not read about it. Hierarchies of perception. She does not really know what to do whether she should write, whether she should draw. She definitely knows that she will never sing. She ponders, creeping out other patrons of this place, while she writes away and stops only to look searchingly into midair, as if she is trying to grasp a word from the ceiling. Oh, the theatrics of being a writer. It seems to be a role that suits her. She can do that, stare into space, opening her already too big eyes a little


bit more, then squint them, then smile to herself, then form words with her mouth, then write away. All the world is a stage. Fake it till you make it. She was too busy looking like a writer, she forgot her flow of words. Logic escaped, continuity of thought. She is 52, 53 in a month, wondering how much longer her mind will be accurate. How many more years to live? How much more time to learn, explore, write, draw, play, the like. Live as if there is no tomorrow. One liners, platitudes, inscriptions on a T-shirt. Makes one go from A to B. she writes, writes. As if there is no tomorrow. And no end. In sight. No Insight. --she found this dunkin’ donuts and sits down near the window, looking out at the street. she starts picking up her writing stuff, her notepad, her pen. She bought a new pen, it 16 0 seemed to be overpriced. It is too runny, the ink glides out, there is not enough resistance. She has to slow it down, force it to slow down, which is too hard on her hand. She will get writer’s cramp before she gets writer’s block. She puts her cellphone on the table awaiting a call. She never hears the ringing of it, if it is tucked away. The life of a cellphone user is a new one for her and it does not fascinate her. She does not like to be held back by some ringing box, it interferes with her freedom. And it sparkles too much, the metal reflects the light and annoys her. She turns it around, matte side up, and she does not know whether it is on or not. She does not know much about the intricacies of cellphones and is startled by it. She should have a donut, but she merely drinks tea. Which was 2 bucks. This city is so much more expensive than Vancouver, than Ontario,


Nice restaurants are pretty affordable though, but she did not really take elegant dressupy wear with her. It does not hold up nicely in the rain, and thus is not comfortable when travelling. She can see herself in the mirror beside her, she can see her pen move out of the side of her eye. people walk, by, determined. A child slags along home, not determined at all. At home there is homework waiting, or merely boredom. School is more exiting. Today there is overcast, there is boredom, setting in. She writes away. Outside there are phones, landlines still exist. She writes away. The woman from today vegetable has unloaded the truck. She is very determined, fast-paced, in control. She runs the show. The author feels that she is so very useless, her physical capacities definitely weaning. Even walking through this city is a chore. This is not good. On the other side of the street is a sign saying “Marathon Bank of New York”, though the “Today Vegetable” 161 truck is in the way, does not show the whole sign, blocks the view. While she writes this “Today Vegetable” drives away, a fatty with a yellow T-shirt blocks her view now. She ponders, whether using the term “fatty” is politically correct. She looks at Marathon Bank. Trucks drive by, taxis drive by, non-helmet wearing bikers. Definitely east-coast. Helmet sales must be really, really low here. She stands up, walks around, looks at the donuts. Timbits, donut holes in this place are called munchkins. She prefers not to have one, which is kind of difficult, all she has these days is apples and salads. She wants to lose weight to have more energy. She ponders whether these observations are too trite. Much too trite. And not observations, to boot. She writes away. Wonders, why the person outside is wearing a “Burton” touque. In the heart of New York City. Which halfpipe does he want to take? She is not quite sure if halfpipes are for the taking, even though she


hales from “Rebagliati” country. She smiles, wonders if she should look out for serious issues to tackle. Something more profound than “I can see half of my Dunkin Donuts cup, only the “NKIN” and the “NUTS”. in orange and pink, dark-orange and dark pink. There is a word for describing a darker shade of pink, a darker shade of orange and she does not remember it. words, words, kids scoot by on those small city-skooters, that were so en vogue five, six years ago. a Coca-Cola Van parks in front of the Marathon Bank of New York. People behind her complain, an artist walks by. With sketchbooks. She has to find the galleries here in chelsea, go to the MoMa, the Guggenheim. But she’d rather sit here, knowing that she will never exhibit in those places. She had her 15 minutes of fame already. Cars drive by, people walk by. To the right, to the left. She could sit here all day and 162 take notes. The old man behind her is still reading his newspaper, yesterday he was sitting in Benny’s café. She meets the regulars, becomes a regular herself. The salesladies are squabbling about wearing a uniform. One yells out “You have to wear a uniform”, later “But you have no uniform”. The other one laughs. They talk about their visa. The author ponders, how long she can stay in this city with her passport. There was a time, visa issues were paramount for her. Twenty, thirty years ago. Her life has changed so very much. For the better, for the worse. Nowadays she writes all day long. Refusing to construct a plot. She liked plots, artful constructions of conflict leading up to, well, climax. She smiles, wondering, whether that is the right word. Nowadays she piles up word after word, assuming that they all will fall into place. Like magic.


Outside, she can see a metal water tower on top of a building, glistening in light copperish yellow, ecru. The air conditioner in this place is very loud, could be the fridge, could be the Vendingmachine, the Cooler. It is very fluid, non-disturbing. Her tea is getting cold. She starts playing around with her cellphone, staring at the monitor trying to figure out how it works. She is not very gadgetoriented, a pen being still the most fascinating gadget for her. She ponders whether she should have something drenched in sugar and grease in order to clog up her arteries. We will all die anyways. Sooner or later. Profound insights. You come to this world, you die. You put words on paper. Cars drive by. There should be more to life. She gets bored. Maybe fresh air would help. The old man has left. She writes away. She has to eventually type this, edit it. Or put it somewhere and forget about it. 16 3 She should sightsee, go to museums, do something other than write. Read a newspaper. Travelling has lost its luster, she has to get back to her regular life. She needs structure. Writing word after word is useless. She could read and edit. But she hardly ever finds something to edit, there is nothing to criticize. A bike drives by, a red motor bike drives by. This is going on for the last two hours. A dog struts by. A woman walks by. All the author does, writes this down. Cars are mushing together into a blur. There has to be something more interesting. Time stands still. A purple bike calls for her attention. At this point everything calls her attention. It is a busy street. She has nothing to do. Boredom is gripping her throat, tearing away at her clothes. This place is too hot, she is


falling asleep while she is writing. She looks very school ma’am like, with her glasses, with her hair in a knot. Plain jane. She now has grey strands in her hair. Maybe she should revamp and overhaul her whole appearance. It never works, though. She is who she is. Some average looking creature. She once listened to her friend going on and on about how average is the best. Actually she herself (the author) does not think she looks average. The world seems to think so. But she knows better. She looks the best. The cameraman outside her window spits on the ground. His gear is very fancy, but, nonetheless, he’s a spitter. The author ponders, how many persons will ever read this. Maybe some close friends? Maybe she should start sprinkling her writing with Sex, Violence, Drama, Controversy. Es-Ee-Eks seems to be the best, sex always sells. So the saying goes. And it got us all here, brought us to this planet. 164

She ponders. A woman in purple walks by. She is utterly bored, it is written all over her face. Maybe she, too, should sit down and write her memoirs /autobiography /nonsensical observations /explorations of the banal. Deep insights. Who is to determine what is good and bad in art? A bike bikes by. She will make her way back to the small apartment on 21st. and 8th. In NYC. On April 4, 2008. That is enough writing for today. The writer blocks herself. Deliberately. A red convertible speeds by. ---


she is sitting near the window and looks outside. Like an old woman, or better phrased, like the old woman she is. Outside, on the street, people pass by. It is slowly getting dark. The night invites this friday evening, is anticipating the night. In this city where so much is happening, seems to happen. She, though, found her small little niche, the neighbourhood cafĂŠs, the fastfoodjoint, where she can write forever, the cafĂŠ, where patrons are unprovokedly hostile and shoo her away, this so very loud, so very hectic city with this oasis of quietness. in this street. The street is a complete replica of the street she grew up on, she feels so very much at home. As if it is fifty years ago. Time is standing still. Where will she be fifty years from now? In 2058? Long gone? Outside the branches turn golden, illuminated lines, glossed over, glistened over by streetlights, beauty behind the open shades, and passers-by down on the street, one black-clad, one white. The tree in her apartment speaks to her. Visually. She writes away. Outside the same staccato- like clacking. Tomorrow she will buy a 165 phonecard. Call home. Until then there are all these words to be written, all these notes to be taken. Maybe she will go to Brooklyn. Not that she would know the difference from chelsea, streets are streets, buildings buildings and people people. Why would she pay the subway fare to see other parts of New York. To her it is all the same. Some place, that makes her write, some place that dictates its songs to her. --And here she is again in this so very , very busy coffeeshop around the corner, it is saturday, april 5th, New York, 11:37, she feels a little bit too hot, too many layers of sweater upon sweater, outside the sun shines, very bright, very weekendish, Jazz plays,


muffled over by conversation pieces, it is chelsea, so in the heart of gay-community living, she ponders, why she mentions that, does it even matter, she feels like writing forever, putting word after word down, the lady who was sitting at her table, looks very seriously at her writing, the author feels selfconscious, and is wondering, whether she wrote something offensive, she suddenly tip-toes with issues, editing and reediting, courting political correctness, which should never be part of writing, it inhibits, it changes the flow of the writing, the sheer, pure analysis, political statements, she ponders, trying to figure out why there are suddenly so many seats without occupants, she watches the shadow of her hand moving, she notices people come in, she wonders, whether her writing is so very much too thin, too plotless, no heartbreak, no star-crossed lovers, well, except for all the boys who could not have her and suffer terribly all over the world, she left them to suffer somewhere, authorless. She smiles, life is good. Her pen has ink, paper is cheap and waiting to be filled, she found her calling. One day she will stand in a room, 16 6 wearing black, reading from her book, no, make that one of her many books. She smiles. “Charlie Rose, here I come.” Lines on paper, scribbles, one after the other, like step after step. Narratives are for the birds. She looks up, sees an ad for “Khaled Hosseini- the Kite Runner”. # 1 New York Times Bestseller. White guilt, white guilt. Plots are for the birds. She writes away, her existence depends on these scribbles, her raison d’etre. Words, words. While cars drive by, while trucks, cabs, all kind of wheelies make their way from right to left. On ninth Avenue. The letters start to shimmer and glisten, she puts them down, is amazed by their shimmery trace, that is there for a second,


glistening, only to dry away. Someone is reading a spynovel, that is what she is up against. Hey, sir, don’t read that, read my stuff. You seem like a very nice guy, what with eating meat, having a big coffee and orange juice. Middle-America. If you have to read instead of writing, read my “literature”. Support the Homeless. Support the unpublished writers. If you pay 100 bucks for your nike’s, pay 5 bucks for my book. Maybe I should subsidize my writing. Here, I pay you, read my book. The author haults, she changed tenses, changed the narrator’s person, first person singular, third person singular. She is waiting for a phone-call, she looks at the shadow of her spiral-binded notebook, the curly lines on the beige-brown table. Someone yells about a Mokka, about a Frappuccino, outside the world walks by. Someone with some University shirt walks out the door, her hands were in front of the University shirt. A woman with a suitcase comes in. The author writes, writes, writes. There is no end, words take her with her. On a flight towards darkness, towards brightness. On the other side of 16 7 the street a “New London Pharmacy”. She could change the script of her writing. For now, that is what she does. And while writing, she notices how she courts, the same kind of alliterations, the same kind of linguistic elements, the same kind of even slightly musical, poetic gimmicks, tricks, the slightly visual use of the language. She is not even sure where language ends, where drawing starts. Where sculpture ends, where music starts. She sits here, writes her days away. Outside the city roars by. ---


It is 12:19 p.m. now. She pushes the buttons on her cellphone, randomly, deliberately, controlled. She hopes the phone does not need to be recharged yet. She is still in the dark about how to use this, and tries to avoid dealing with it. Dealing with any kind of technology. She does not run after it, avoids it. Uses it as a tool, a necessity. Preferring, romancing nature. Not nature with tics and ants and cockroaches, nature with fresh air, in a city. Near cars and trucks. Near coffeeshops. In coffeeshops. With “New” on the other side of the street, a “rainbow flag” above it. Where light reflects on the pavement, where her hand casts a shadow, many shadows on the paper she writes. That kind of nature. She ponders whether her writings have logical fallacies. Not for her, all her words make perfect sense. In her world. The man with the suitcase leaves, it was not a woman, but a Japanese tourist with long hair. She likes the abundance of tourists in this place, she feels at home. All these nomads, all theses globetrotters. Intermingling with the natives. She should stop writing, go back to the small apartment. But she writes away, it is so much more exciting to hold a pen and write. Her phone should be somewhere, she uses it as a watch now. Holds it in her hand, to answer, if someone calls her, if someone needs her. 16 8 She used to dismiss people with their phones, people who want to be needed. The author prefers to be in a state of non-neededness. To be free, to soar, to write. And, eventually, to build, to make music, to change the world, for the better. solution, problem. (The stuff with part of the solution, part of the problem). The words take her away. She is exhausted. She writes much too much, falls asleep while writing. Only the physicality of her writing propels her forward. She said that before. Someone in the little French Bakery


on Ninth said that yesterday, that one should just write and see where it takes you. Same sentiment was voiced at the pratt institute at the panel discussion: draw, see, where it takes you. Seems to be the sign of the times, exploring creativity, freeflowing, order and structure will be superimposed, later, transpiration, inspiration. All those maxims. And outside the city goes by. --She looks out the window, looks at the green wrap, the sandwich on somebody’s table, the green bag on a chair, the green sweater, all things green. She wonders, whether she should buy a lap-top, the one, she likes is about 200 bucks. Very light, very heavily promoted. Should type out all her books, print them, bind them, send them off to all the publishers and – a phone call interrupts her line of thought, her daydreams. Gotta run. Duty calls. Writership has to wait. For now. --she has not written for her text in the last two days and now she finds herself back in the coffeeshop on 8th. Avenue and start writing, automatically, like a clock that starts to tick like a clock which is started by turning the switch, the clock-turning-on-mechanism. 16 9 She ponders what the exact term is, she tries to figure it out and does not find it, she gets into an ulceration with another patron, who accuses her of not covering her mouth when coughing, which is ridiculous because he has his back to her, how would he know, but he was actually right of all the times she coughs, this time she did not cover her mouth, but she is just flabberghasted by the sheer rudeness of this person. The new yorkers of


chelsea are quite a piece of work (not that there is anything wrong with it). She stopped coughing afraid of this person, which is a new kind of cure for the common cold, scare people shitless and they forget to sneeze, their throats clear up, bodyfluids normalize. Maybe the white labcoats in hospitals make people sit up, the authority of health professionals makes diseases go away. A woman at the other table is writing her suduko-puzzles, solves it, the author writes away and tries to pinpoint the moment, let it linger on the paper, expand, she tries to make the longing in the song flow on paper, the longing for a long-lost lover, for something amiss, something so far away, a dream that cannot be caught, a hope, love, liking, the wish for the resolution of a problem. She counts the days, counts her pages that she has put down, has lost count, tries to figure out why it even matters, how many pages between start and finish, how many days between leaving Vancouver and getting back to Vancouver, getting back sitting outside at the busstop, going to Airport station, then taking the B-line into the city, leaving at 41st and taking the UBC-bus to leave either in front of Mc Donald’s or Hills. That is where she will be, in 27 or 28 days, no, wait, 23 days, in three weeks time, with double the baggage, she left with, and she will miss these days of “forever-writing�, these days of culminating creativity, when she is forced to 17 0 write down her observations, her thoughts. She ponders if, whether this is even creativity, creative was the idea to put her thoughts on paper, all these people in the coffeeshops could do the same, well, not the little baby who talks to herself in the stroller, plays with her toys, analyzes the toy. The only reason, why she writes and writes, is, that she cannot


physically master walking around forever, she is a totally accidental writer in an accidental touristworld. She never saw herself as being creative, she is much too nonchoosey, draws whatever she feels like, writes whatever she feels like. Like a marathon runner who practices each and every day, come rain, come shine. “The loneliness of the long-distance runner”, one of her favourite films, back in ’63, on black and white TV- in the morning. She might have had a crush on Tom Courtenay, being drawn to the person who never laughs. She was reading a book at that time, about a child, that never laughed, having sold his soul to the devil. Faustian dilemma. Later on she was fascinated by “Michael Kohlhaas”, by “Der Schimmelreiter”, all tragic, lonely figures, alone against the world, in pursuit of an idea, an obsession. She grew up with a ten-year older sibling, that makes for building, constructing the perfect loner. Put linguistic discrepancies with the environment into the mix, you have the perfect making for an individual writing away her days in kingston and new york in spring/fall 08. The woman at the other table has her little Sudoko-office at the table, the man at the other table is busy figuring out his cellphone, his blackberry, textmessaging. Outside the sun shines away, people are singing behind the counter. The starbucks here has such a different vibe than the Starbucks back in Vancouver. Someone sneezes, someone puts her coffee on the table. Everyone is doing something. She writes away, puts down all these 17 1 scribbles, all these lines, all these words, while they are starting to swim in front of her eyes, each letter being written in a kind of foggy, nebulous surrounding, each letter slightly bent to the right, each letter freestanding, she prefers to write in block, not in


handwriting, it seems to court the illusion of legibility, of finale and finite coherence. She starts spelling out the words, at this point of her dislocation, her travels she starts talking to herself, courting insanity, once a person at the streetlight at St. Marks place turned around, noticing her speak. Crazy old lady. A woman with white hair walks by, she writes and writes. The Sudokowoman left, was called on her cellphone, she spoke some French words, Québécois, Montreal. The author ponders, whether she should start focussing on spinning a yarn, writing a spystory, a mystery novel of 3500 words, max, to send to the Wolfe Island Contest in Ontario, by mid-may, to win 100 (grand prize), 50 (second prize) or 25 (third prize). She wonders what runners-up to the Nobelprize get, nothing, zip, zilch, they have to leave the stage like Canadian Idol, like American Idol, like America’s Next topmodel, like a contestant for Project Runway and Project Runway Canada. The author herself is giddy since yesterday evening, she received an email from the NFB, from the phone company, that puts downloadable shortfilms on its site to be downloaded for mobile phone use, they liked her animations, all of them, all seven of them, life is so very good now. Finally, we are getting somewhere. Maybe writing is not needed, maybe, we’ll make it after all. A hat flies through the air. She counts her pages, her blessings. Her pure luck. She is 52, going on 53, alive, in New York City, happy, healthy, life is so very good here. Lucky bastard, lucky duck. She pinches herself. The sun shines away. She has to count all these pages, then stop go somewhere else, take the 17 2 subway, get out somewhere in the city, more mid-townish than here, find a fast-foody place and start to write some more, letting the hecticness of the city permeate her


consciousness to make her write - Lovestories, hatestories, dreamy long-winded dissertations about the state of the world, this world. She has to stop, for now, make herself physically stop, put her left arm on the right arm to hault the neverending, neverseizing pourdown of words. Her fingers are cramped up, too tight, much too tense. --she ended up having a chamomile tea in a small knitting store meets teashoppe meets coffeeshop and is above a small animationstudio, that had sandbags in front of its door somewhere behind a woodeny, gardeny, urban oasis-foresty pathway, full of branches, full of rocks, stones on the ground, very secret underpassy, mystique-mystery, with computers behind dirty window glasses, animation in a mysterious castle-basement, her chamomile tea is red, a mystery in itself, it has some lines of smoke, it is in a pen bowllike cup, very lattĂŠish, people here knit away, do stuff with noise from a spinning machine or something, that has rotations per minute, some loud device, there is music in the air and wool, wool, wool on the wall. Outside, in the little sidestreet, people walk by, behind her, the spiral of her notebook reflects the lights, mimicks the wool, the metalbaskets on the wall. Her tea is getting cold. She paid much too much too much for her tea, 3 dollars and then she gave a dollar tip, an overpriced, reddish chamomile tea, that must be more a raspberry tea, or a hagedorn tea, it is delicious though, people here have pompony, knitted socks, pompons the size of big peas, the size of big chick peas, 17 3 garbanzo socks in lots of yellow, orange lined fabric, in wool with lots and lots of lines. She likes it here. She has no clue how to knit, but likes the quietness of doing something


this meditative, like drawing, like writing, like animating, like doing research, like bricklaying. She likes the collected, communal energy of this place, where people gather to build, to construct a better world. She will look up the name of the animationstudio, it is called Michael Spoon Inc., she could ask the knitting store person for info, but she is contemplating shyness. She could turn around and look out at the street, but she wants to sit here and contemplate the workings of the interior. Inside, outside. She looks at the wooden board on the floor, a dull salmon colour, darker than salmon, less pink, more velvety, brownish, blueish, blackish, with yellow lines in it, looks like the wool of the pomponsocks of the knitting woman. This place has beautiful cupcakes, very red, very cream on top, very cherry in the middle with a green leaf. She had the same kind of cupcake the day before, sunday, yesterday, in williamsburg in an artsy fleamarket named fleas an things, it was much smaller, a minicupcake, but the same style, lots of cupcake, lots of cream, a mound of pearly-white, ecru, eggshellcolored whipped buttery cream, with an artery clogging static consistency, the color of the cupcake of the woman at the other table matches her knitting, matches the glassescasing of the other woman, matches the red knitted shawl of the author, that is hanging on the chair, matches the red of the tea in front of her that reflects the lights above, in tiny dots. The author sees red everywhere, she wonders why red is bad, she is calmed by red, lifeline, blood in our veins. She wonders what happens to the red blood in our veins once we seize life. She feels like crying thinking of all the death-seized people, whom she knew, who left her here to cope, 17 4


to be strong, to hold her head high. She feels like a small child, vulnerable, with a grittiness to write, which sustains her, which is inevitable, which makes her draw her lines in the sand. Speaking of sand, the day before, in williamsburg, she had an enchilada in a caribbeanisland themed restaurant, with sand on the ground, which flew and smushed into her sandals, it was beautiful, a restaurant that mimicks the beach, someone came in to fix the floor in this knitting store, the floor she just described the salmon, yellow wooden floor, turns out it has cracks and it goes down, while they step on it, the saleslady and the carpenter in his workboots, there are nails in it that seem to not hold down the wooden beams as good as they should. She ponders, about why fixing floors would generate money, whereas fixing knitted loops will not, trades, crafts, along genderlines. She writes, puts lines on paper, is she consumer, or is she producer, is an endproduct that is merely thoughts on paper a viable product in late-capitalist society. She knows that society likes and loves its poets, its musicians, artisans and builders, formgivers and claymators, vesselmakers, its tradespeople. She knits a yarn and it is funny, ironic that she ended up in a room with people who literally knit yarn, she wonders why they are all women, are they mere hobbyists or will they market their goods, will they expand on their craft and align themselves with colourship, endowment money, grants, places that will put taxpayermoney flowing to their pocketbooks instead of supplying the army with funds to ultimately destroy human life the world over, somewhere far away from here. Her tea is getting cold, paler, pinker, diffused water infused with blood from people less 17 5


fortunate than her. The author gasps, writes away to counter the flow of sinking into the abyss of uselessness, of prostitution, of compliance with the man. She is not an overt troublemaker, but she refuses to sing along. She misses Vancouver, but is happy to seek out all these oases of contemplated intellect, that make her write, that force her to write. All these flat surfaces all over north america, all these tables that she plants her notebooks on, to write, to write. The ceiling here is beautiful, ornate, with lots of lines, looks exactly like the fabric of an ornately knitted sweater, she sees lines in everything in this place, yarn is the fascination of the owner, lines are everywhere, metal basket, ceiling, floor. The theme are lines like the strings of yarn. Knitted into something bigger, line upon line to create a bigger entity, a pane with holes in it. This is very different than creating a continuum out of bricks that has no holes in there. Creating a surface with holes is like architecture by Herzog-Meuron. See, everything reminds me of Basel, these days. All these weirdly funny insane days. --she ended up in another small cafĂŠ and starts to write, another chamomile tea, another notebook passage to be filled with all those lines, all those words, all those observations that take her all through New York City. This time her chamomile tea is very yellowish, it has small residues swimming on the surface, tiny points of chamomile that might accumulate in her throat and make her cough at night. There is a small spoon, so she might fish around the edge of the teacup and fish it out. This restaurant is very brown, very earthy, the wall is brick, dark, glisteny, her teapot leaves the dark-brown surface of


17 6 the table with a wet puddle, not too 3-dimensional, more glistening, gliding water on black-brown that vanishes, as time goes by, absorbs into the surface, absorbs into thin air. She ponders, ponders all day long. She sees a pink awning far away, streets away, a traffic light before it, in front of it, a go-sign, now a red hand to stop and hault people. The author is getting tired of writing down her observations, she is weary of the day when her words will seize her. The people at the window speak French or Hebrew, more French than Hebrew. The walls are all-hebrewwriting, she ponders if she should start writing in Farsi. Outside people walk by. Outside is a Do Not Enter sign. Her life passes her by. She wonders whether she should put some sucrose, some artificial sweetener in her tea. Which is sweat already, by virtue of being chamomile tea. These are her deep insights, in a world of conflict, of genocide. Deep insights, deep observations. Seven people walk by, in front of this restaurant that is called 12 chairs. She coughs incessantly. People here are too polite, nobody reprimands her for coughing up a storm. So the body is taking over, getting sicker and more diseased. She feels sicker and sicker, sitting in this too warm, too comfy, too toasty place does not help at all. She should be out there, walk all over town, let the wind and the breeze sharply do their incisions into her face, make her shiver, fire, fight it with fire. But she has to write, has to write. Forever, so many words that are waiting to be put down. She longs for Vancouver, for health, for not having to cough and sniffle, all day. She wonders when this place will have a dinnercrowd, it is pretty quiet here, she writes away. words, words, while singers sing


philosophically, which makes her write philosophically, haulted, word for word, trying to say something while not really say something, following the words like others follow the 17 7 wind, are blown by the wind, blown in the wind, through the wind, her wind analogies fall flat. She follows some pied piper, some obsession within. She filled out a test yesterday evening in the internet café, somewhere on third avenue, somewhere on the NFB-site. She was deemed mildly obsessive, but still fully functional. That should be better than full-blown neurosis, full-blown paranoia. Courting some obsession is always good, maybe it could breed creativity. She really doubts that, she detests all the romantic notions about poets. In the late-capitalist society. Oh, what the heck, in any given society. The world over. In the back of the restaurant some grindingy machine makes noise, something rotates. It stopped. The place here is quiet, the people in front of her are definitely French. Pigeons are outside, grey on grey pavement. They say “chercher” or “Cherchez”, that is French for you. She ponders. They are not Québécois, she left Montréal a week ago. The restaurant outside next to this restaurant was where she had dinner some days ago, all arugula, all goat cheese, all health-conscious. She had fruit for a week now, how healthy, but ever since she lives the healthy lifestyle, she feels like total crap. Can’t walk, can’t hear, can hardly breathe, has tears in her feverish eyes. And she talks to herself. In broad daylight, in plain view of total strangers. Who might be more accommodating than one’s own kin. Just another crazy on a street filled with crazies. A harmless insano. Outside, she can see the pink awning with the red street light in front of it. And she notices, once more, all the red lights, all the red points, lines surfaces, red


walls, red everywhere. She sees red. Metaphor, red as metaphor for what. Sometimes, lots of times, red is only red. Today, in the morning she saw twenty-one NYPD cars in a row, driving her by. The people at the other table speak German, try to figure out German. 17 8 She feels sick, so very sick. She could help them with their German problems, linguistic problems, grammatical confusions, then again, she has left the ability to accurate, conquer linguistical, grammatical glitches, she now does English. For better or worse. Her eyes are full of fever, she should pay and leave. Fresh air. salt. wind. She misses her city. So very much. She is a stranger in a city of strangers. Where everyone is from far, far away. That seems to be the common thread of all our lives here in NYC, dislocation pared with instant location. Communal dislocation, dislocation as vice, dislocation as virtue. The beautiful woman behind the counter exudes beauty and femininity, something the author will never exude. Not with all the make-up in the world, all the plastic surgery in the world, all the sit-ups in the world. Some people are born that way, her design teacher was like that, zero point zero zero zero one per cent of the population. Any population. Some people are borne like that, making the rest of the world gasp for air. In disbelief. Outside a yellow cab is waiting, a grey old man comes out with oxygen tubes in his nose. She ponders whether she should go home, email each and every one she knows, to make sure they are all fine. She assumes the best, hopes for the best. Writes away. Looks at pigeons, at the biker biking away, the old woman making her way. Mortality, it is


somewhere in the back of our conscience. We are all still alive, we should all be still alive. An ambulance roars by, another one sirens by. Her tea is cold and icy. She will drink it and make her way to the tiny apartment. In Chelsea. Maybe she‘ll have some pinkberry. to chill her throat. She has to stop writing. For now. --17 9 she is back in the coffeeshop, she had a discussion with a war protester who wanted her money, which did not make sense to her, she was not quite sure why she should give money to her, why should she depart with her finances in a way she would support cancerresearch, the woman seemed to be part of the problem, not part of the solution, she was arrogant and self-righteous, could not understand the irony of her request, she was operating on enemy’s turf, her problem was with the American political system, that seemed just illogical, because she did not ask the real questions, she glorified FDR, as if that made any difference, she could not even see that the whole apparatus that brought her here, the colonialism of Europe ultimately results in the US bombing other countries, the woman wanted the author to finance her alleviation of white guilt and, not only that, she was so very adamant like a schoolmarm instructing a child. It was like a slavedriver trying to tell a slave to finance the anti-slave movement. What? It was plainly illogical, but the author could see that the woman did not understand that, she was raising funds from whomever she thought had some dollars in her pocket, from whomever had some dollars burning a hole in her coat pocket. The author is pondering whether to get another writing pad and another pen and whether she should go on writing, she is pissed off at the


activist woman who seemed to blame the author for the mismanagement of her government, as an American she suddenly blamed the victim, she did not even notice the illogical assertion. The author knew that her illogical clash with the woman was so very severe, she walked away. But she still could not stop thinking about what just happened here. She knew that the woman was right, but she did not really understand that in the eyes of the author she was just one more American who is ultimately responsible for the 18 0 doings of her elected government. The rift was there between two women about the same age, about the same socioeconomics, the same beliefsystem, it suddenly became so very personal, and instead of community there was a rift. And if push comes to shove, it had to do with religion, with being powerless, with pessimism. She counts her pages, notices that she has 14 more pages left in this very notebook, she writes away, tirelessly, trying to sort through things, through issues, she listens to the music on the overhead, she is haulting in putting down all these words, she is feeling kind of bad about herself, she felt that the peace activist was trying to accuse her of things and, at this point, she cannot see straight, think straight. She puts down word after word, while wars are waged against the innocent and they are all innocent, she hears protest songs on the overhead, joan baez singing against injustice, she writes away in this small, so very generic coffeeshop not knowing whether her writings will have any clout, whether she can change the world, whether she wants to change the world, whether she is in a position to change anything, whether she should live in this country if even for the split of a second. Her pen takes her to new heights, to


new lows, and this is what she writes about, each and every day long, she looks at the yellowish ceiling, she looks at the papercup in front of her, she is afraid of the scary peace activist outside in front of the coffeeshop, she wants to find an oasis far away from this place, far away from politics, from religion, she wants physical proximity to a breathing body, to some other creature’s skin, she wants a seabreeze in her hair, her face, she wants to write perfect prose without even trying, she wants something that she cannot even name, she wants to write all day long, she tries to formulate her half-woven ideas, 18 1 her plans, her dreams, she wants to use the word “perforate”, because she woke up at seven fifteen and saw herself using this word, she dreams about her writing, about the sentences she constructs, the words she chooses, she still has to write so much more, so much more, so very much more. --she find this very beautiful pastryshop in Brooklyn, she orders a chamomiletea which costs one ninety which is less than she paid yesterday, though one could argue it is the discrepancy between teabag and loose-leaf, but for her the cheapness is paramount, she still is basically forking over two whole bucks for hot water and the temptation of very good, very creamy, very beautiful pastry, the whole place is like an Italian trattoria, an Italian ice-creamplace, cups are hanging with bows in the blue transparent, chiffony curtains, outside is brooklyn, the first station out of Manhattan, on the L-train, the street is bedford avenue, the location is called Williamsburg, as far as the author knows, she writes away, enjoys the atmosphere, looks out at the bicycle, wanders why her table is a


wobbly one once more, her hand cramps up, the pen is a ball pen which needs too much force to make it fly over the paper, so she has to take long, long pauses, long, long haults, arresting the development of this her story to nowhere. Negativity is paramount. The neighbourhood here seems wealthy, alternative, old-hippyish, not necessarily wealthy in a material sense, more in a well-educated, confident sense of self sense. She writes away, misses her gelroller pen, has to stop. the place’s name is fabtane’s, retired people in front of her discuss loudly important issues, two beautiful women are talking at another table, 18 2 people walk by, she ponders what to write about and if using this pen might even vaguely result in good writing, she uses handwriting, not print, which seems easier to do with this pen, printing needs more force to inscribe the letters, to make the lines even marginally perforate the surface of the paper. She writes away while listening to the samba-ish rhythm of the music, could be Italian, could be any romance based song, rhythm colliding with rhythm, the pink sugarbags in front of her catch her attention, she inhales colors, this is what is the mainstay of these her travels throughout 2008, inhaling visuals, exhaling them on paper, trying to figure out if she should start typing this up or whether she should amass more and more material, eagerly, waiting to be edited in Vancouver. The other people are discussing socialism, government, education, everyone has an opinion, opinions are good, to make them collide, to discuss the world, to make sense of the world, while the world walks by, to try to pinpoint issues, within the context of ideas, within the context of ideologies, all the ideas of this world, while people walk their dogs, their kids, she writes away, trying to count the pages, she should write more, so much


more, until her pen will stop, her tea is chilly now, she runs after ideas, the political discussion at the other table propels her incessant writing, on the other side of the street the bricky building is all brick, all brown, with this one rectangly-square, lonely within the brown bricks with the beige mortary edges, she writes, writes away, people are discussing all kinds of New Yorky, political, specifics, she loves that, she likes that kind of discourse that is far away from trivial issues, on the other side of the street there is a store called “earwax� People talk away, talk away. She rests, she writes, she thinks about her discourse in the morning with the peace-activist woman, the author agreed with everything the woman said, she 18 3 was stating the obvious, the author just did not want to fund her ideas and that is where their worlds clashed. Politics are so very important, they have to be discussed, day-in, day-out, to further our understanding of the world. The author listens to the music, there is so much going on here, she is hungry, but tries to loose weight, in order to run up stairs, but she might faint until then, keel over her notebook, suffer, faint and have a heart attack, in this strange far-away town, where life is fun, where she feels at home, where the sun shines and her notebooks get filled with word after word, where the text takes her to indulge in new worlds, in new constellations of sentence piled upon sentence piled upon sentence, where writing is a way of life, where she puts in ink and paper to reach the ports of knowledge, gates of insight, doors of a glimpse at accumulated wisdom that reflect all her past years, she looks out of the window here in brooklyn on april 8 or 9th, 2008.


--And she suddenly notices that another page has still to be filled, while yellow schoolbuses drive by, one after another, while the clock on the wall is five past three, while the afternoon on this new Yorker Tuesday, this Brooklynish Tuesday clashes with the trumpet in the overhead, the pink sugarbags, the blue curtains, the red mailbox outside, with people walking by through the sun reminiscent of Princess Street in kingston, ontario - some weeks or days ago. This is her life now, a tad too meaningless, a tad too freeflowing, but well-documented in all these notebooks, on the lined leaves of these her books, sketching down thoughts and ideas, that will eventually careen towards 18 4

deeper meaning, issue-based discourse, scholastic observations interlaced with trivia, because that is who we are, intellect and emotion and definitely, decidedly intellect. Today, tomorrow, until the days we seize to exist. Breathingly. --she once more sits in the coffeeshop around the corner, another book to fill with writing and it is not necessarily a writing pad conducive to her writing, she has to guess where the lines are, they are basically invisible, which makes for constant guessing, for writing in free space, without grid, without order, everything mushes together, and another person is writing too, this is surely a city with people fond of journal taking, note taking, writing, she listens to the music, she has a gripping cold that makes her eyes fill up with tears, she has to wait for this to go away, to vanish and she feels bad, whether she


is up and running or whether she is scrunched up, crunched up in her bed, she feels so very, very sick, she can feel her temperature rising by the minute, by the second, she has lost her appetite, lives on chamomile tea alone, this is not good, she had an orange, a piece of pizza, a slice of marble cake and tea, tea, tea. She is alone in this big city, where everyone seems to be alone, the people around her talk, talk, talk, but the other writer writes away, she feels that she has to write at least 20 more pages to fulfil today’s requirement, today’s allotment, she looks for her cell that is somewhere in her purse, she has to know what time it is, the other writer checks his cell and the watch, this is what people do, collectively, communally, the city grapples the author, the other writer leaves, some kid who glances at her, he packs his “war and peace” in the making up, the author still writes away, forever and forever, word after word, plotless, an anti-narrative par 18 5 excellence, the pen flies over the paper, she has to leave, but will come back, she leaves her things here, all over the place, she might meet her editor, she laughs, there is no editor yet, why would there be, how could there be, a shallowish travellog, stories far from the edge, in utter quietness, in an oasis of tranquility, in a so very hectic city, where red and orange lights illuminate 8th. Avenue, where cars rush by, where bright lights, big city is the status quo, the world at ease, restless, slightly mindless, rushing forward. She wonders, if it would have been the same some fifty years or so ago, when she was born so very far away, somewhere in Hamburg. She interweaves the narrative with her own stories but changes the data randomly, whereas still courting truth and facts. At this point, everything mushes so much together, so utterly together, fact and fiction, fact as well as


fiction. in short, fact follows fiction. She looks outside, is waiting, she looks at her cell, she counts the pages, she ponders when her sickness will decrease and lighten its grip on her. She has not been back home since March 13, and it is April 8th, now. --it is now April 10, she was sick for a day and did not write at all, a disruption in her routine, so she went straight back to picking up her pen and putting words on paper, even though she is still kind of shaken and disoriented from two days, or better, nights of fever, which was not good at all, which makes her feel weak, strengthless, full of resentment about the discrepancy of her own strength and the vitality of the blossoming spring, the fledgling heat, the brightness, the sun, her coffeeshop here at the corner of 23rd and 8th is her sanctum, it is still the same, she made it her home, this one and all the other coffee places, tea places, where she writes her journalentries and ponders, where journal ends 18 6 and where literature starts, given that anything written reflects the penwomanship of the author, she ponders, ponders, ponders away. She is now at a point where she expects herself to put down 40 pages straight, which is quite a strong regimen, which might be too much, counterproductive, that kind of thing, she starts tweaking parts of the page, does not fully cover it with her words. She is still reeling from her cold and feels restless, wondering, if she should just stop, there are so many more days left to write, so many more days, years, minutes, besides, this paper is so very nonconducive to writing, the lines are not pronounced, so it is like writing on non-lined paper, which makes the ideas


wishy-washy, non-ordered, the pen one uses, the paper one uses, produces a certain outcome. The color of the ink, the grid of the paper, this is what makes and breaks writing and nothing else. The author is a very practical writer, a very pragmatic artist, her tools are the most important “tool”, not her mind, the mind is totally at the mercy of the “tools”. The pen makes for good insights, the lines by good ink are the illustrators of coherent sentences, coherent thinking, the physicality of the pen carries the story, the direction of the piece. She ponders, whether she should elaborate or just stop in midair, in midthought, suspend the flow of thought abruptly, to just take in the situation in this particular place, with its so very American music, she feels very Canadian here, very from a different planet, a visitor that just looks around, wonders, judges, is happily dislocated. This is a so very different city, but the author is taking to it like a duck to water, without being immersed, without losing her sense of self. She tends to have this ability to adapt, to adopt a place, but to make it work on her terms. She has lived all over 18 7 the world, so she is not fazed by ever so slight differences in our common humanity. Or something like that. she still, though, deliberately, bowls alone. It comes with the territory of writing, Putnam himself did it when he penned his book. The music above is all about love, very country, very sugary, longing, the longing of a boy for a girl, maybe to market it to a lot of girls, she does not care, the words are very conducive to eager happiness, all kinds of accolades of the “you are my sunshine” kind, the sheer innocence of fascination with another creature and the non-jaded approach of admitting that, the generosity. The author smiles, lovestories are always her most


favourite stories, happy romantic, live ever after happily, ditties, another country song where a breadwinner sings how he will work all day and that is where love and romance goes awry and wrong, where women are forced to play second fiddle, where the sheer rage of feminism is bred, cultivated. These are all very important questions, she ponders, but she should stop and count the pages. and she did. --she sits down on a bench near the spring street subway station and has a tangerine that she bought from the fruitstand near the benjamin moore paint store. the tangerine is not that good, not that bad, half of it falls on the ground. She sits down on the bench, one of many benches. people have flocked to this place, they are soaking up the sun, having late lunch, letting New York City pass them by. It is nice here, bright people walk by. No one writes. She watches the very sharp shadow of her hand. She has thirty more pages to go to write for today. She did not write yesterday, so that would make forty more pages, thirty plus forty, seventy pigeons are on the ground. It is spring in New York City near 18 8 the spring subway station. Corner of 6 and spring. Writing makes her sick. --She finds herself back in the small knitting store slash cafĂŠ slash teashoppe, the one above the animationlab / the animationstudio, the one that looks more as if it is nestled in a little sidestreet somewhere in italy, where a very thin lady gave her a chamomile tea, a lady with a Chinese amulette, people are walking by, the music is beautiful, she has a


really bad cold, the author, that is, she coughs and writes. No one knits in here today, last day she was here, there were so many individuals, now there is just her, the singer, people walking by and all of this multifaceted view, she wonders what to describe, it is so very interesting here, word comes after word, she wants to hault this moment, let it seize to flow, let it tread in space, she wants the moment to be freezeframed, she misses her city, but does not really want to leave this city either, this city makes her write, makes her be so very diligent, renders her utterly disciplined, makes her write, write, write. The words flow from the pen, there is no writer’s block on the horizon, she puts down all the words she has to, she follows the articulation of her dreams, her passions, that kind of thing. She admires the lines and the shadows, outside of the window, the street is so very narrow, a narrow, narrow street like in an old city in Europe, so very non-American, but it is New York, she knows that, she smiles. She counts the pages, so far she only produced fourteen pages, that is not enough, it is way too little for this day, she has to still produce so much more, she is at the same time 18 9 slave and slavedriver, she forces herself to write away as fast as possible, and the words flow not that softly, she is not productive enough, and she ponders, if she wants to produce that much, like a person knitting away, she might number her pages to see some progress, to see achievement, to see physical evidence that she tried, as hard as she could, to build her writing business, her animation business, her putting words on paper business, she needs tangible, physical evidence of having tried, of having been in the flow of producing incessantly and word after word-ish, she wonders, if she should write


in this place, in a place which is geared towards individuals that take flexible strings and twirl them around with big sticks and make flat surfaces. They knit. The house on the other side of the street consists of all those small rectangle bricks, rectangles of baked clay smushed in place with mortar, which works as an adhesive between all the bricks. In the end these are panes that are glued together out of small units, panes made out of smaller entities, bricks. So knitting and bricklaying is basically the same. Might not hold up in a court of law, but the author herself is satisfied by her observations, her metaphors, her seeing the communality in seemingly disparate fields, disparate modes of material existence, material manifestations of matter, material ways of human production. She wonders, whether writing is too time-based, too non-solid to be able to even try to compete with a building, a knitted sock. people walk by with kids, lots of kids, fieldtrip group, something like that. Outside there are blue strings that look like a curtain, all blue strings amassing as curtains in the window of the knitting store. The author misses home, misses, misses home. --190


part 33  

part of "stories of east"

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