coach wooden and me-kareem abdul-jabbar

“you like brazilian music?”

ok so, was this commonly known? i’ve read a concentration of kareem abdul-jabbar‘s books lately, and this is the first one of the bunch that he hasn’t written with a cowriter. i suppose that makes sense, as it is the most personal. the inside jackets are proof of how prolific he’s been (lately, and ever), i feel like this one must have been released within months of writings on the wall. i learn something every time that i read one of his books, and this time, the most surprising thing was when he just tries to casually drop the detail “i had just started training with bruce lee“. the most basic google search yielded this fascinating (and at times homoerotic) clip with a curious soundtrack that i won’t ever be able to unsee.

long relationships always make me cry because they are proof that people can and do choose to stick around and work things out. intentional ones infinitely more so for the work and hurt (and triumph) of these reasons.

***i am feeling the urge to interject my continued feeling that vince carter should retire here because the jersey pictures have already surfaced, and i don’t remember which basketball book it was that i learned that the first step to trading a player is to leak it in the press and see how people receive it, but i did read that, and the response has been great. i’m sad that it didn’t happen by the deadline, i mean, bruno for vc should’ve been a good trade? but they (cleveland and the nba) must have known that veteran leadership and all of they symbolism would’ve pushed this current team towards at least the nba finals…so….***

i am interested in coach books because i am inspired by people who do right because it’s the right thing to do (and sports in general because it is a secular form of witness/worship). respecting, influencing and teaching people is thankless work that may never pay big dividends because it requires those people to also do the work. it may come years later, and in strange ways, as kareem accounts many times in this book (and his others).

here are the highlights as i have pulled them:

“Being good is the payoff, athletically and spiritually. That’s why he didn’t care for sports movies in which the underdog team or player learns the hard way that winning isn’t everything, but then they go on to win at the end.” (8)

bad news bears. it’s also the reason that i dislike the fact that awards for individual merit often outshine team play (i will never get over russell westbrook‘s kick in the face of an MVP award).

“His players would graduate with grades that would give them career opportunities beyond sports. He was worried about our long-term happiness, not our win-loss record.” (23)

no kidding.

“Both of us spoke fluent basketball, a language free of emotion. He loved that shot and saw in it possibilities I hadn’t imagined.” (106)

(sky hook).

“There’s very little creativity in racism.” (133)


“I tried to make the point that true patriotism is about acknowledging problems and, rather than running away from them, joining together to fix them.” (142)


“It was jazz as religion: everyone playing the same song, but adapting, improvising, harmonizing until we produced beautiful music together.” (217)

this was a really interesting point-no set plays, just lots of practice. i basically told some teenagers the same thing when i was working at the music school, “don’t be scurred, just be pre-purred”. i am almost certain that this is at least part of what’s been happening in san antonio all this time.

the other night, at the rather lacklustre celtics game, we honoured bill russell for black history month as he should be honoured and one of the images on the big screen was obama awarding him with the same award that he awarded kareem with to start this book, the same one that bush (jr) awarded to coach wooden and i got to thinking about whom, if anyone, this sitting guy will honour, since he doesn’t seem to have much regard for or interest in history or the future, and my i am truly sad that he doesn’t know the power of reading.


regretting motherhood-orna donath

“By asserting the coexistence of love and regret, these mothers refuse to be sorted into categories in a way that would force them to leave behind pieces of their emotions and themselves.” (114)

“you’re wrong, asshole, i am the mothering type”

a cunt once called me “motherless”. if you’re reading this, hi cunt!

ok, that was petty. and i don’t just go around calling women cunts (all the time). i had a long and unhealthy relationship with this one that no doubt was informed by both of our relationships with our mothers, and i think it’s just funny that she charged me with this, a fact that is beyond my control. i mean, call me annoying, call me uncouth but motherless? what the fuck is that? i mean, maybe my mom was like many women who regretted being a mother and she did something about it. maybe her mother was exactly the same but instead of bouncing, she stayed and made her and her sisters’ lives miserable as a result. who’s to say who was right or wrong, i actually don’t believe there is such a thing possible, as the subject position is so personal, fluctuating to the second even. the final point from the whole breakup is that she objected to my use of “cunt”, charging me with being unfeminist, but proceeded to call me a bitch over three platforms. oh, women. we’re so complicated. but as we move through this life and these same situations that our mothers probably once found themselves in, we can only benefit from considering things from each others’ perspectives, so, my dearest cuntiest one-time friend-i meant it with affection (even though i was mad as hell) and i still do (although i have zero interest in engaging with you further) and i wish you all the best with everything, whether you have children or not.

i’m not sure how this book came to me, but i think it was through surfing the contributor’s notes of nasty women. i was recently directed to the podcast via inflection point, and relieved to see that there were only ten episodes.

i’m glad that there is a growing narrative of choice, and here’s hoping that it is tinged less and less with the consequences of the patriarchy as we go forward. i applaud these women for being brave enough to speak up, and hold space for the personal and political risk that they underwent to do so, for all of us.

it’s like you can’t spell “mother” without “martyr”, and definitely not if you call your vigilante film proud mary. now, i will see taraji p. henson in anything, and i’m glad that she comes out of this one alive. perhaps it’s a hope-full story after all-she killed all of the men, the father and the son, and adopted the orphan that she made because she also killed his father. it’s semi-bechdel approved, as it centers mary as the protagonist, but every single one of her relationships is with a man, even though she kills most of them.

at least she kicks ass and i heard that anthony hamilton song in the theatre.

and it wasn’t downsizing.

save the cat! goes to the movies-blake snyder

this book is widely recognized-shoutout to su for recommending it to me. i am still reeling with gratitude for the opportunity to write a script for a dream project that is being realized, and it’s really great that i finished it. i love new forms of writing, and i’m certain that the weekly workshopping that came with writing in the city was the perfect concurrent meeting to sustain the gusto to do it. i can’t wait for the notes and next steps, and to announce more about the show as more details become available to announce.

(i’m so blessed to have such talented and hilarious friends).

i appreciate the structural guidance of the book, as well as the breakdown to a lot of impact-full films (i did put the original on library hold as well, to see how this applies to scriptwriting scriptwriting), but the one point that i am holding on to and still thinking of is this:

the evil (or terror) of the ring and the exorcist is working mothers.

mind blown*

but it’s true-when you decide to go back to work and let tv be your babysitter, you sacrifice your child. also, i’m not sure the exact storyline of the exorcist (increasingly, i’m wondering if i remember any movie that i’ve ever seen-i recently forgot the porn addiction part of love, sex and eating the bones) (but then yesterday, i also forgot that i had to dial the area code before the number and wondering why i couldn’t get through to beck taxi because i have that number memorized) i’m sure there’s a completely sensible reason on why you should never outsource childcare or seek to work outside of the home because your daughter will definitely be possessed.

this book brought be back to the truth that i took out of film studies, which is that films are a reflection of the world as it was at the moment of filming, as well as a projection of the reality of the ideal world as it was at the moment of filming. i am saddened to know that we’re back in the swing of the pendulum where our lives and choices as women are still under such scrutiny.

i am also questioning my automatic aversion to scary movies-maybe if i see them through the lens of “what imagined societal evil is this trying to combat?”, i might not be so scared.

but it is fitting that the movie that set this precedent in my brain when i was in university was the ring, a movie that scared me so much that i didn’t sleep for four days and called a sleepover with friends on either side of me to self-medicate-perhaps i truly got it after all. because the patriarchy is fucking scary.

and so, we work.


mad late, but here are the haikus from last week before today’s last workshop:

the theme was “autumn turning into winter in parkdale”:

it’s too hot inside
smells of man are very ripe

dark days turn frosty
leaves are more wet than crunchy
ground down into slush

farmer’s market done
tacos are all year round, though
faces-stuffed and starved

this time, they’re all about nature (maybe the theme set us up for success)-and i know that rule now.

time flies when you’re having fun.

parkdale, 6.

“sometimes, you have to kill your puppies”

sometimes, the advice that you get in writing workshop confirms everything that is happening in your life.

i have been feeling some rage lately-i just want people to be better, and know how to express their feelings without hiding behind grossly re-imagined texts and emails. i left work just early enough to slide into the abbott for tea and got the satisfaction of stamping all the paper cups and ranting to the lovely katherine.

first, the quotes of my amazing and talented co-writers for further pondering:

“we periodically take her on a magical mystery tour”

“it sounds like a shortcut to creativity”

and now, my poetry of the night-the faux sestinas, first from my free write, and then from everyone’s free writes. this time, i contributed “grimace” because “pork hock” was not accepted:

pork is a tough sell
it inspires grimaces, religious and secular
with stalkery byproducts-check your marshmallows
though flexibly delicious atop all of the starches
rice, potato, perogy, bread, noodles
an unintentional service announcement
merely a statement of facts as i have no hocks to hawk

so frustrated
trying to livestream
the octopus
hiding in water
inspires only grimaces
what is the formula?!

we started editing, and it was nice to look back on all of our writings, and i did find a piece to develop for the parkdale time capsule, but it’s more of a piecing together of many writings, rather than one to be edited.

(i forgot to find the emotional centre).


once again, i’m so great-full for the time and space and writings shared with this group.


though heavily carb-motivated, i felt much better about my efficiency last evening.

i let off some steam with a rant about pronunciation choices, and learned a lot through the group share about things going on in the city and things going on in brains. here are some lovely things to think further on:

second-hand pens
nominating monsters

our prompts came out of books that were based in parkdale (what a great idea) and the ink flowed freely.

this is from our last exercise of the night-the personification of the neighborhood, which is the perfect merging of writing characters and writing the city as a character. here it is, with some flash morning edits:


They’re not subtle, that’s for sure. But they’re definitely a they: non-conforming to gender, class, race or mass. Perfect in their imperfections, hypocritical in their contradictions, they’re never fully gentrified-with a smile. They never fit in, and therefore fit in perfectly. Their personalities, schedules, alternative professions, ducks-cannot be fully explained but somehow make sense within the borders of the neighbourhood, like those giant stuffed tigers at The Ex. It’s all fun and games until you have to wrassle it onto a crowded express bus to Dundas West station. Are they done counting how many days it’s been since last sugar was tasted? When did they alter the Elm Grove bus stop to read “Elmo Grover”? Do people who are assigned to recruit there as Witnesses actually fear being invited into their homes? Their mounting beef with the police includes the oversight of the bylaw that states that you must clean up after your pet, as horses casually trot and drop mementos one tonne at a time on the residential street west of busy Dufferin. It’s a good thing they move slowly enough to receive the clear disapproval, straight through the eyes.


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.