Theoretically there is the same amount of time in the day as when I was on Salt Spring in April, but the crackling energy of the city, even a small one like Edmonton, prompts you to squeeze so much juice out of the day, it’s hard to tell if the fruit was ripe to begin with. What do I mean by that…I guess I mean that since Lizzie and I have been back, we unmistakably do more, but does the quantity of tasks completed somehow reconcile with the quality of a day on Salt Spring? The kind of day when all you really have to show for your “work” is a couple of tired dogs and a few pages of screenplay that you will probably re-write later and a complete sense of harmony with your place in the world.
As with most things: there’s no use drawing comparisons. I suppose I’m just proud of the work I did out there, and it’s hard to see the path towards finishing it now that I’m back to this city-life so full of errands and projects. Writing sometimes requires moving at 1/2 or 1/4 the pace of the world around you. This is not easy to do. We are social creatures; we attune to the environment constructed by our peers. This is I guess why writers tend to view themselves as outcasts and freaks. It’s the necessary solipsism, often self-imposed, the removal from society to stow away off into a world of imaginary ideas. This sounds very absurd and grandiose, but on SSI I could convince myself that the world of the movie I was writing was every bit as “real” as Edmonton or New York or Paris — all existed equally as abstractions in my mind, and the quiet of the coast was such a proverbial tabula rasa that I felt safe in a kind of acceptance of the ephemerality and fluidity of our perception and understanding of the world around us.
I’ve always been comforted by the sound of traffic pulsing from a city street. The sounds of cars, marital disputes, and dogs barking always provided a pleasant reminder that I wasn’t ever truly alone. Now I feel the pull of those sounds dragging me back into a world of toxic materialism. Ironically, the internet, though inherently a space bred to service the exchange of ideas, has become a profanely materialistic reality-shaper, encouraging you to limit rather than expand your perception. How do we free our minds and cast the spell of imagination so easily spun when we are children? How do we cultivate a healthy relationship with these imaginative spaces so they don’t become escapist fantasies that take us away from our loved ones? Or in the extreme: dissociative disorders? No wonder the greatest writers are so often riddled with suicide-provoking mental maladies. You cannot do your job without inviting the wolf at the door in for a drink.
Until next time.
DRH – Edmonton