this is not my beautiful house

#2 / I’ve got a funny feeling about this, too

#2 / I’ve got a funny feeling about this, too

I had a funny feeling about social media, and the feeling was reluctance with a few drops of don’t-do-it.

But I told myself that it would be okay because nobody cares anyway – in the same way nobody cares about what you’re wearing, unless you’re wearing the same thing as yesterday – and in this way, I sweet-talked myself into the dizzying macrocosm of instagram, twitter, snapchat etc. which was much more effortful than being social in an everyday kind of way, which almost always involves beer and/or cake. Much ado, I thought. No thanks, I resolved. Pffft, I said.

And then I got a like.

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And now I’m all Que Sera, Sera about it.

Likes are validation with icing – they are irrelevant and relevant, everything and nothing, exhausting and exhilarating – and it’s hard not to get sucked up in the drama and excitement of it all and I could easily have used a different consonant there.

People make a living and/or killing on these platforms and good for them. I guess. I don’t understand why one person gets 18 million likes and makes a record with a stupid, pouty selfie, but I fully understand why a picture of an egg, posted for the sole purpose of surpassing said record, did exactly that.

I have been a reluctant Facebook participant, willing to like only a very few things, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stalked some of you thoroughly. You know who you are. Or do you? I’ve been to Australia with you, Jenny. I’ve been touched by your posts about your mom and your sister, Marie. I’ve seen you at Grossman’s, Dave. And I like what you like, Val. But that’s about it.

I’m not sure how much skin I want to put in the social media game, but I’ve anteed up, and that’s enough for now. Let’s talk about something else.

When in a small crowd, it’s best to blend in I’ve discovered, at least when it’s picture time. If you’re the only one wearing white and everyone else is all chic and glamorous, it’s going to look like the you’re the chef, and you know you can’t even cook very well under pressure. As you can probably guess, this happened to me just the other day when I was having a nice dinner with friends. Let’s take pictures somebody said and I felt my eyes roll but was prepared to be a good sport about it, so I turned toward the camera at the other end of the table and that’s when things fell apart. Let’s stand up he said and my eyes rolled again, this time right back into my head. I am a tall person, taller in white, and not only was there a colour disparity, there was the issue of size, too. But I did my best to look like I was having a nice time. The next day when I saw the pictures online, my eyes rolled right back into my head and stayed there. When I am smiling, my friends look like my pets – and when I was caught between smiles – it looks like I might eat them.

One of my favourite words is “also”. Also, I like “yes” and others of its ilk (another good one!). However, I don’t like the word “but” unless it goes like this, “I’m no expert, but…”, and it’s me saying it.

(Also, as far as segues go, that might be a ten.)

I’m no expert, but here’s why I think my novel will become a real book (just like Pinocchio became a real boy?) and I’m basing this on my reaction to something that happened a few weeks ago.

My nephew recently completed the daunting task of cleaning out the house in which he grew up – and he did it swiftly and admirably – although undoubtedly with a heavy heart. I do not think this could have been achieved by anyone else in the world, and if Marie Kondo wants a Canadian counter-part, she should message me and I will get the ball rolling.

My nephew unearthed some real treasures, including soapstone sculptures that give you a feeling of loss and gain all at once, and slowly and beautifully almost break your heart, and you can’t – nor do you want to – get them out of your head because of their strange and heavy importance. They are the kind of art you just want to be around, and by you I mean all of us.

He dropped me off a big bag of beautiful old hats – some with endless lacy flowers, fresh as can be after fifty or more years, still pinkly pink and lovely in an I’ll-never-wear-this-but-I-adore-it kind of way. There are men’s hats, too, just as old, very worn-in, as in almost worn-out. They have an air of dignity – and there’s a musky air, too, that’s either the smell of leather and adventure – or not.

Several of the hats sport beautifully vibrant and elaborate feathered plumes, and when I saw them, the first thing I thought was Krikey, would love these!

It was then that I understood perhaps for the first time that my novel will make it. I’m feeling funny about this, but am adding a short excerpt from The Whispering Gentlemen which will mean nothing to you until you know that Krikey is “my” fly-tying childhood best friend and fellow fisherman – who lived across from me, on the other side of the river we loved – until he got caught, that is.

I didn’t understand Krikey either, it turned out.
But I took over his traps, poured dried insect appendages into envelopes and mailed them to him at the asylum in Moncton. I folded 16 butterfly wings into each paper fortune teller. Pick a colour. I sent him feathers – so many that the package almost floated – and I was surprised when the scale at the post office registered it at all, and six or seven cents worth of postage was required. I sent him threads and hooks and white pistachios from Halifax – the first I’d ever seen – but he wrote back saying the red ones please because he liked the colour to wear off his fingers and blush the feathers he was tying.

So there’s that.

Thanks for reading.

Spring gardening tips or What I learned (again) today

Spring gardening tips or What I learned (again) today

#1 / I’ve got a funny feeling about this

#1 / I’ve got a funny feeling about this