parkdale-4

i think we were all a bit tired last night.

we did exercises on character, switching gears from place, and i found it challenging for this reason:

“I think it’s easier for me to write about place than character in this neighbourhood because the hood is a character, and so full of real ones, that it’s hard to imagine one in.

Perhaps I should personify the tamarind balls that I forgot are for sale in that OG general store.”

and, so.

perhaps i was just too full of baked onion rings.

we’ll try again next week.

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dear parkdale…

i am so excited that i signed up for the writing workshop at my library that started last wednesday.

i am always up for quick, prompt-based writing with strangers, and i learned some new (to me) rules about haiku. i only knew 5-7-5, i didn’t know that they cannot be a simile or metaphor, and that they must involve nature. huh.

here are the somes that i wrote about the neighbourhood:

my sketchy solace
colour me falling in love
cold sanctuary

teeny bachelor
with high ceilings was perfect
no things after fleas

autumn leaves fall in
perfect light in the front room
worshipping sunday

quick circle of life
senior cat slayed baby mouse
and then her mother

and some non-sestina/sestinas:

seeking sanctuary in the city,
all i found was fleas
ignored red flags and sketchy landlords
cautious of falling again
missing the solace for the trees
that first year, my gratitude
was as frozen as the olive oil, -25degrees

there’s room for everyone
as far as our minds can reach
the streetcar arrives
and people cram into the first two feet
different languages, different destinations, different hygiene
but everyone gets to where they’re going, even the fleas.

i did throw the whole thing by contributing “fleas” as my word to the soup, but people really ran with it. shoutout to lindsay and the love lettering project, this was a lot of fun-see you next week!

top 4(:44)

here are my top 4 quotes from this album:

4) “your body language is remedial”

there are a lot of specific instances of petty shade on this album (“lazy eye, no biggie” “in the future other ni$$as playing football with your son”) but this general one is hilarious.

3) “i apologize, because at your best, you were love”

is he actually, finally acknowledging aaliyah, all these years after her death?

2) “daddy, what’s a will?” or “daddy, what’s a whale?”

i mean, i’ve listened to this numerous times, and i don’t know which babygirl is saying, but either is perfect. considering that it segues into a track about legacy, it could be her plotting for his early death. conversely, she could just be fucking five years old.

but khaled‘s kid is already an executive producer of an album so….

1) “everything is chaka

in light of the current challenge (nobody beats issa and regina-no one even comes close) i think it’s worth noting that this child raps better than a lot of folks with real records out.

also, it means that half of my favourite quotes come from the on the run superchild, and i’m fine with that.

overall-it’s a great album, best and most listenable in a long time (i didn’t think we were coming back from magna carta, tbh).

also, i got it from the library-on cd.

remember those?

the ways of white folks-langston hughes

i read this because it was recommended to horace grant by phil jackson.

sooooo.

here are my questions:

1) did phil jackson read this?
2) when did phil jackson read this?
3) what the hell prompted him to recommend this to horace grant (in the same year that he recommended a beevis and butthead title to stacey augmon)?
4) did horace grant read this?
5) did these players have questions on the correlations between them and their books?
6) were the reading assignments handed out at the beginning or the end of the season?
7) again-what the natural hell?!

and of course, the most affecting story, father and son, is the last chapter.

dang.

i have the right to destroy myself-young-ha kim

“It’s easy to have sex when you can’t really communicate.” (66)

a few months back, some friends were jealous of me because i don’t smoke enough to be blase high. especially when they always bring out new implements and shit-i can’t keep up (i know i’m west coast, but i left…) and part of me sometimes wishes that i could just fuck.

and i might be able to one day, but i gotta get there with someone that i actually like, that likes me. but then why wouldn’t i just want to be with that person?

i guess this quote means that it’s easy to have sex, but not necessarily good sex. i suppose that’s the line that i can’t really get with anymore-i don’t have any time for mediocre sex. and i can’t buy into the hype that communication doesn’t matter.

the ideal situation is tenderness and understanding and humour, but not wanting to be in a thing, but that’s complicated because not wanting to be in a thing is different from “coming from an impossible situation” or “not being over your last thing” or “emotionally impossible and/or immature/still blaming your parents for shit that happened and you’re over 30”.

(sigh).

kanye sidebar:

“There are only two ways to be a god: through creation or murder.” (10)

(because what else do you do when you’re talking about relationships while not talking about relationships but pull a quote from the book that brings us to kanye)

and, because i’m all about an abrupt ending:

“People who don’t know how to summarize have no dignity.” (6)

sacred hoops-phil jackson

this was my holiday book, my homecoming book, probably partially what led to my dad asking me about “my favourite team, the chicago bulls” and having my grade 10 picture up because he doesn’t like my bangs in my grad picture. in a lot of ways, i did feel like i was back in the tenth grade, rooting for the bulls.

i rang in the new year, in a tall chair eating a delicious meal reading this, calmly waiting to come home. i don’t know how zen phil jackson is these days, running the new york knicks organization into the ground, but to be fair-he inherited a helluva job.

(and doing oakley like that?! come on, man-if he wasn’t traded for cartwright, you would’ve coached him instead of coaching against him all those years)

“Basketball happens at such a fast pace that your mind has a tendency to race at the same speed as your pounding heart. As the pressure builds, it’s easy to start thinking too much. But if you’re always trying to figure the game out, you won’t be able to respond creatively to what’s going on.” (50)

tell me about it. this playoffs is making me feel things that i never thought i would-like teams that i never cared about-i gotta hand it to the celtics, they looked really good against the bulls last night, though the t-shirt jerseys (and rondo’s blush on blush suit) maybe had something to do with it….and the rockets? i started out just rooting against westbrook-because can you really be mvp if your team is knocked out in the first round (again?) and the utah jazz? i didn’t know a single player, but hey-they’re looking pretty solid. i never thought i would be saying that in my lifetime. but i can’t figure basketball out, i can just love it.

“Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

and love it i do. like this wonder-full vacation here in the trill. although i’m mostly hiding out, guarding the hearth and taking care of the babies, i’ve found myself smiling over the simple things-like earlier on a terrace with an iced coffee writing letters and before that, air drying on the couch with the rottweiler and bojack horseman.

we never really change who we are, and here’s another example of phil’s long-standing feelings on young talented ballers:

“Everywhere he went, he was surrounded by a squadron of bodyguards and ‘a personal entourage,’ who formed a cocoon around him that was difficult to penetrate.” (19)

hmm. sounds like a posse to me.

game on, players.

common-the limits of men (again)

“deep as a skinny girl’s cunt”

“fuckin’ on the sink, bought my mama a mink”

“butt nekkid in the kitchen flippin’ pancakes/plus she tricking from the dough that her man makes”

“ladies get their hair done, and men, we notice/you get high grade indian weaves, at the lowest/prices, chivalry is no longer lifeless”

wow. it was so hard to just pick one lyric from this problematic ode.

(sigh).

it was probably fitting that this album prompted a man whom i experienced in a particularly stunted moment to reach out to me because a good common album reminded him of me.

my conflict over rachid was immortalized in writing during my freelance stint in montreal, and one particularly scathing album review (for which one now, i have no idea), and this latest album (that i’m late to, i know), falls right into formation.

it must be said, too, that this man’s breadth of work and the variety of styles/positions that he has held has now, in my opinion, put his body of work in line with madonna‘s. what i perceive as common not knowing who the hell he is from moment to moment could really be common being all of the things, all of the time.

i have listed a few of the lyrics that have always just rubbed me the wrong way, but it’s undeniable that he has always held my attention enough to keep listening. so, there are so many lyrics and songs that i’ve loved, and water for chocolate will always be one of my favourite albums.

i couldn’t get a proper version of da struggle, but key and peele completely captured his likeness, and i think, even more aptly, with his name, captured the problematic “border” between “conscious” and “jiggy” rap. this is a line that common has always straddled, and that is why his bullshit gender politic is always so disappointing, because he’s otherwise, so very good.

the fact that this song features bj the chicago kid only annoys me more because it reminds me that the only song that i hate on his otherwise brilliant album is “it’s a woman’s world”. is there something dillusional going on in chicago’s feminism?!

i must also say that noID is flawless. the beat part of the rap equation is very, very strong, on this project and the one before that. he’s a bigger man than most for picking up the pieces after being left for ye, and staying in the shadows of producing may be the most feminist aspect of this album.

it is also something of note that pops is gone, and it’s officially the end of an era of albums punctuated by a daddy outro. i was sad to learn this in the song, and acknowledge that it must be hard to lose a parent who obviously had so much of an impact on his life and work.

which brings me to the song with nas that came out at the same time as “otis”, and the contrast between that other ny/chicago rap duo was mostly about how those other doods were just rapping about their money and these two were “conscious”. the bigger contrast for me was that these two were examples of men who clearly had their fathers, and jay-z and kanye famously did not. so perhaps that has no bearing whatsoever on your relationships with women, or it has everything to do with your relationships with women. but, jay-z could only commit to beyonce after his dad died, so perhaps common can actually evolve now that his is gone?

“i said i got my SAG card, baby i’m an actor”

“think they be mackin’ but they actin’…”

well, he is starring as a rapper having a mid-life crisis so…perhaps he knows all about this?

(sigh).