I keep sitting down to write and after a sentence or two, I stall out. It’s not that there’s nothing happening… more than I’m pretty sure none of it is terribly interesting to read.
Each day has its own challenges and triumphs, some big, some small, but it’s nothing beyond what the typical family goes through, I’d guess. I’m also feeling a bit constrained online again. I’ve got moms of the boys’ friends tracking me down on Facebook. I’m having more local interactions on Twitter. I don’t know anymore who sees this blog and who doesn’t, and I find myself gazing at Tumblr and thinking YES THERE I CAN BE ANYTHING I WANT TO BE… but I’m not good at writing in a void so the first thing I’d do would be to link there from Twitter and it’s just possible that I’m not cut out to be online.
The writer’s block is bad enough that the beautiful Nicole came up with some questions for the rebirth of meme Monday – good questions – and I was paralyzed by my inability to answer them and thus did nothing.
So! Meme Monday on Wednesday. With apologies to Nicole for punking on week one.
Is it spring where you are?
It is early spring, but yes, The Long Winter is finally over. If you’ve never been to the Maritimes in early spring, and you have plans to do so, you’ll need rain boots, a lined raincoat, and some light gloves. Don’t bother with an umbrella unless it’s magical like the one Mary Poppins used – the wind really never stops blowing here from late March until mid-May, and it’s not Owl’s “gentle spring zephyr”. It’s a constant, howling, tree-branch-snapping patio-furniture-blowing toddler-toppling presence.
Today the wind is blowing steadily at 60 kph (38 mph) with gusts up to 75 kph (46 mph). Oddly, this is somehow not enough wind to blow away the thick, dense fog bank in my area. We are very close to the Atlantic coast, and the spring fogs are a sight to behold – they obscure the treetops, frizz your hair, and make headlights at noon a necessity.
We’ve also had rain. So much rain. All the rain. Now, the rain I don’t mind, actually. You don’t have to shovel it, a wet spring makes for forests that aren’t tinder-dry come August, and puddles are a fine plaything for small children. But if you don’t have decent rain boots… and splash pants… and a raincoat that actually repels water… you are going to spend a lot of time vaguely dampish, like a toad by a pond.
What we don’t get much of during a typical Nova Scotia spring is SUN. You get used to seeing forecasts that say things like “showers” or “a mix of sun & cloud” or “cloudy periods” – what they all mean is grey. Just grey, and brown leafless trees and tangled brownish yellow lawns, and mud. Grey-brown. On sunny days in spring everyone grabs it with both hands and pretends that summer has arrived. You see men everywhere in shorts. Women in short skirts and flip-flops, shivering but determined. It’s not uncommon, especially if the sun comes out on a weekend, to see people with a toque AND a sunburn come Monday morning.
So… is it spring? Yes. As long as you know what we Maritimers mean when we say “spring”.
What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
I re-read a lot of books, and right now I’m taking a second crack at George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, partly because it’ll be at least another year before The Winds of Winter comes out, and partly because I had such a visceral reaction to one particular plot point on first reading that I actually threw the book across the room in a rage. (Aside: It’s a character death. Which if you’re a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire is not noteworthy, because the bitter joke is that main characters die all the time, but in this particular case it felt cheap. Not to mention frustrating, because by that point we had invested FOUR THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED PAGES of text in this character, and to just suddenly kill him off would seem to make no sense.)
Anyway, the last new-to-me books I read were Stephen King’s The Wind Through The Keyhole and the first volume of The Walking Dead graphic novel series. Wind is, in King’s words, “volume 4.5” in the Dark Tower series; it is set between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla in the chronology. You could read it as a stand-alone book if you wanted to; although some parts would certainly make more sense with context, it’s really a separate myth set in the Dark Tower universe and told by Roland of Gilead. I quite enjoyed it; if you’re interested in the Dark Tower but aren’t convinced you want to commit to the full seven-book cycle, I’d recommend picking this one up first, because stylistically it’s very consistent with the series and would be a good introduction. If you have read and enjoyed the series, it’s just nice to visit with the ka-tet again.
The Walking Dead graphic novel was interesting; I expected colour drawings and didn’t realize it’s all in black and white. The level of artistry and detail is stunning, but would be quite upsetting for the gentler folk among us; it’s extremely graphic and legitimately scary. I really liked it and would be keen to read the rest… but there are at current count 125 issues, and I paid $16.99 for the first one. Which I read in less than half an hour. So, I can’t in good conscience recommend it unless you are independently wealthy, have recently won the lottery, or have a friend who’s got the series and is willing to share.
Reality TV – yes or no?
Reality television is a scourge on our landscape. It exploits the stupid and the gullible, turns reprehensible people into stars, supports an industry based on cheap content that puts writers out of work, and is basically the sour cream & bacon potato chips of television.
I love it.
Feel free to tell me I’m a terrible person. You’d be right. I don’t love all reality television, by any stretch, but the shows I do watch I am sadly, guiltily drawn to. My current favourites are Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, 19 Kids & Counting (that one’s a hate-watch. I’m usually cringing in second-hand embarrassment the whole time and yet I keep going back to it), House Hunters (bonus fun: take a drink every time someone says “entertaining”, as in “we need a large open-concept space for entertaining”), and Chopped (but not Chopped Canada, because Dean McDermott is a smarmy, unpleasant person and why the Food Network decided he was the best choice to host their spinoff is beyond me).
Who is your favourite cartoon character of all time?
Oh, I’ve loved many cartoon characters – too many to choose just one. I find myself quoting The Simpsons’ Agnes Skinner a lot, as I get older. She’s just so damn crochety, irascible, mean, and cruel – she’s like the side of myself that I try to keep a lid on, given expression.
Also, I will hereby confess that as a kid I had a crush on Walt Disney’s version of Robin Hood. You know the one I mean.
Do you have a song stuck in your head right now? If so, what?
Because I work with small children all day, and because Easter is coming, I have Little Bunny Foo-Foo stuck in my head. That’s so powerfully lame I kind of want to go hide.
Could be worse, though. Poor Michael has had Smooth Operator stuck in his head since the weekend, when it was played on Randy’s Vinyl Tap on CBC. He keeps trying to get it stuck in mine, because misery loves company, but so far it hasn’t worked.