Thursday, December 29, 2011

When Your Profession is Motherhood

I notice that a lot of women tend to get their backs up about being professional mothers. ‘You’re Just a Mom?’ I see it sometimes when people ask what I do, but I find that it is rarely followed by disrespect. However, it is a quick way to kill a conversation when you’re getting to know someone new. They ask what you do, you say you stay home with the kids and there is instant silence. They don’t know what to say next. They were hoping to have the conversation filled by professional banter and instead – you stay home with the kids – riveting. Like I said earlier, I don’t think they are meaning to be disrespectful; they just have no idea how to proceed. Even if you worked at a daycare, they’d know what to say next better than if you’re a housewife. Why? Because no one knows what you do all day. You could be doing anything. And that’s right. You’re doing anything.

The point is, mothers, you need to take the reins of that conversation and let the person you’re talking to know what you’re doing. They won’t know what it is you do unless you tell them. And you need to get down to the nitty-gritty. Tell them that you cook wonderful meals that are so scrumptious your husband has lost the stomach to eat out. Tell them you grow such beautiful roses that no one needs to bring you flowers, that you throw parties, potty train toddlers (which is for the good of the nation and perhaps the entire world), and the million other things that occupy your day.

Me? I tell them that my life is organized in such a way that I get to take a nap every afternoon. I’ve always thought that a siesta is the way to go for maximum efficiency during the waking hours of the day. And if that doesn’t impress them as to my luxurious lifestyle – nothing will.

I also make tons of money in the form of saving money. Kids don’t go to daycare ($$$). And the freedom! Ah – the freedom. I wake up every morning and think, “What would I like to do today? I can do anything.” And I do. Granted, some days my deepest desire is to do the frick’n laundry because the piles are getting on my nerves. And some days when my outlook is brighter I go work in the yard and wear my floppy orange hat. Or I’ll paint, and so will the kids. We’ll make something yummy or visit some friends.

And if you’re a frustrated mommy – maybe you need to become your own boss and see how much fun that can be. It’s about being creative and wise with the time and resources you have.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Read When I'm ... Sick

Oftentimes, when people meet me for the first time, they think that I must read a lot. I guess my dorky glasses make me look like a bookworm. Well, I do like reading. I just don’t like reading most things. Here’s my story.

When I was a kid, it took me a long time to learn how to read. Why? Because I was bored out of my mind. I hated everything I was given to read. I didn’t discover books written for adults until I was 13, so I jumped right into that, but it didn’t take me very long to figure out – the authors of all these books were just making crap up. And not only that, but they weren’t very good at it.

When I read a book, I have to find the book more compelling than my every day-in-day-out life (which is actually pretty incredible), and more interesting than me just sitting around day-dreaming. To compete with those two things I think is pretty challenging. The author has to electrify me beyond my wildest dreams (literally) or I’m going to go do some laundry. I only read when I’m sick or when I’m travelling. Otherwise – I have my own fish to fry.

This last week, I threw up spinach dip five times in a row. Stomach flu - way to ruin the holidays. Sheesh! But I got some good reading in. I was reading Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones. She’s one of the few novelists I can stand and her book The Lives of Christopher Chant is one of my favourites. So, there you have it – someone I can recommend who has regularly written books I have found palatable.

Speaking on the subject of me being sick, I’d like to tell a story. I enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s books (though not Remember Me) and I wanted to read her book Twenties Girl, but every time I passed it in the shops, this little voice inside me said no. I wasn’t sure why. Then on this particular day I was shopping and I passed it for sale in Safeway, of all places, and I had the strongest feeling that now was the time. So, I bought it and felt sick indulgent (because I feel that way whenever I buy a book I haven’t read before). Two days later I was admitted into the hospital and I had nothing to do, but sleep and read. Thank goodness I had something to read. I finished reading it five minutes before my husband came to get me. Lucky!

So, yeah, I find it excruciatingly difficult to find anything good to read. If anyone has anything they would like to recommend to me, I’d be very appreciative. I’m quite open, but if anyone suggests Love Comes Softly or Twilight, I’ll wring their virtual neck.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Romantic Celebration

When I was a teenager, I used to read romance novels and I used to love it. I started reading the ones that my mom left around the house (they’d been there for a long time). Most of them were published sometime in the 1960s. They were harmless – as in free of sexual relationships – and harmful – as in totally sexist. Once I got to be about 19, I started to recognize the severe injustice to women as a whole, but the ones that were published more recently were dirty. The women weren’t stupid and the men weren’t chauvinistic pigs, but there was sex. And I agree with the philosophy that sex should not be described in detail unless it’s in a biology text book. I have my reasons.

Thus, I would like to suggest an alternative. They’re called virgin stories (categorized by me). Let me explain in more detail.

The Virgin Wife Story – This is a story where the main couple gets married very early on – maybe in the first chapter, but because of the circumstances around their wedding they’re not on the right terms to just jump in bed. It’s called a virgin story because they don’t ever have sex within the confines of the story. It ends just as they’re closing the door to the bedroom and the reader is left to understand that after the story finishes that yes – they finally have sex. I’ve been reading a Korean manhwa called ‘The Bride of the Water God’ for years. I think I’m past chapter 100 and they still haven’t gone to bed.

The Virgin Prostitute Story – This is a story where the main girl is forced into prostitution, and has repeated close shaves, but she always escapes with her virginity intact. I find that usually they’re Japanese stories since they have completely different ideas about escorts and hosts and that sort of thing than we do here in North America.

The Virgin Harem Story – These might be my favourite. As most of you know a harem situation in a story is when more than two characters are in love with the main protagonist. Ones that are really well written offer the reader not just three main love interests, but many. I’ve seen authors create half a dozen love interests for the same story. The reader is sitting back and they can’t even figure out which one to root for because they are all so enthralling.

The biggest point in each of these stories is that there is no sex in any of them. Another point is that most sexual relationships portrayed in books and films these days ought not to exist. I’m horrified. I’m sitting there going, ‘If this girl sleeps with this guy, she’s going to be seriously screwed up when she wakes up the next morning’. Can’t we prevent people from thinking this rash behaviour is normal?

Can’t we have romance novels that are just fun and that’s all?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Fountain

Did you know that The Fountain is one of my favourite movies? Absolutely no one I have shared it with has liked it. It is completely beyond me why. I love it.

I love how it opens. Hugh Jackman is praying. He’s thinking of a woman. He’s looking at a ring. He crosses himself and prepares himself for battle. He’s at a Mayan temple. There’re skulls on pikes and the men with him are screaming with fear. He declares how he won’t die and races into the fray. The Mayans kill the men with him, but throw him on their shoulders and take him to the temple. There he climbs all those ungodly stairs (sorry – joke from Howl’s Moving Castle) in his dark brown leather pants (hehehehe). At the top he meets a priest who is wearing a headdress that is made up of at least five human spines. They fight, but the priest gets the advantage and Hugh’s got a knife in his chest. He pulls it out and it breaks on the floor.

And my senses come alive.

It’s a story about a man whose wife is dying. It has three specific settings. One is the content of a book that is written by his wife. The second is a story written in the future by the husband (the back of the movie lies and tells you that it is the future, but I never mind spoiling things – I think that’s the moment when real interest is peaked). The last is the reality of right now.

The sound track is to die for and the cinematography chilling. They take such careful care as to what colours are shown. They range from white to gold to red to brown to black. Blue and purple are forbidden. They are so careful as to when they show the sky. Mostly it’s night and the way they show the stars makes me feel like I can finally see them.

I never shy away from writing violent scenes when the moment comes. I think the violence in my work and in this picture is symbolic of determination. I love determination.

And of course, a two hour movie hardly has the capacity to move me anymore. I mean, no matter how heart rending they can try to make a movie, unless it touches something that I am particularly sensitive to – I won’t cry. To me, love has eternal dimensions. It’s holy. I don’t think I get out of this film what the writer intends me to. I don’t care what he wants me to see. I see what I want. And there is nothing more gratifying than seeing exactly what you want. I see sacrifice for love. Imagine being willing to die for the one you love? Forget pain. Think of entering by the way of that forbidden curtain of night to see what lies beyond. Thrilling.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

So, You Wanna be a Vampire?

Hollywood and Gothic novelists have brainwashed you into believing that there’s some magical process in becoming a vampire. I’m here to unravel their lies and tell you the no-nonsense truth about becoming a vampire. Anyone can do it. Anywhere. Anytime. Here’s what those movie-making, novel-writing bloodsuckers don’t want you to know.

Vampire myths have a couple different origins. One of them is them is actual cannibalism and subsequently using human body parts in the same way we would use animal body parts. “Whale bone to make your corset, Milady?” The countess replies, “Why bother? There’s a milkmaid downstairs who’s skinnier than me. We’ll just use her ribcage – that ought to slim me down.” The second one was sufferers of tuberculosis in the darker parts of Eastern Europe. They felt a weight on their chest that felt like someone was lying on top of them – sucking out their breath – when they had a disease of the lungs.

Anyhoo – neither of these things have anything to do with vampirism as it exists today. Truly, you only need to have two qualities in order to make your darkest fantasies a reality. One of them is to believe that there is no possibility that other people are equal to you. This means disregarding the fact that you have exactly the same physical characteristics inside and outside your body as other humans; therefore, putting yourself on a pedestal over them. The rules that normally govern conduct do not apply to you. Thus, you are free to use other people to feed your lusts. Let me suggest a few desires to get the ball rolling. You can feed your desire for political power, corporate greed, or sexual sin. On a smaller scale you can also stomp on people for the fun of it, talk down to people to make sure they know they’re stupider than you, act helpless in order to make other people do what you don’t feel like doing, freeload, and act like an ass since there’s no one to stop you.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. That’s how tons of people behave in the normal world and they aren’t vampires. That’s right. There’s one other important component that I still haven’t mentioned – damnation. Basically, it means that as you’re doing all these things intended to degrade and suck the life out of your victims, you also have to be actively pursuing new ways to drink that figurative blood. You get addicted so the rush, so lying and cheating get less and less fun, so you’ve got to start stealing to top yourself off. It also means that you don’t want to make things better. You want to screw everyone over and drag everyone down to Hell with you.

And since vampirism has been enjoying such a sparkly reputation lately, you can even tell the person you’re draining that you’re a vampire and he or she will probably get off on it. See? Win/win!