Thursday Night Musings

Thursday evenings be sacred: that’s the night I take me hard-earned cash and hand it over to public transit, which in turn takes me to the writers in Toronto.

When my kids were young, I tried to arrange for one Sacred Writing Night each week, but that regularly got canceled for any number of reasons.  I remember slogging through dishes and laundry and antibiotics, thinking that I could survive it all if only I had that one evening to look forward to.  Just thinking about it was magical.  Turns out, I was right: that one night each week fixes just about everything.  ‘Course, I spend a lot more time writing, too, so that might have something to do with it….

Anyway, Thursday is a night of learning and exploration.  Sometimes I learn some terrible things, sometimes some glorious things, and sometimes I just observe some stuff that sits in the back of my brain until I need it.

  • Insecure people are not good writers. They become jealous and vindictive, petty and negative. Mostly, they become belligerently defensive. And, with that, they shrink in people’s estimation and are left to fade into the woodwork.
  • I have empirical evidence: self-esteem makes for a good writer; insouciance makes for a great writer.
  • When writing is really, really good, people say nothing. They open their mouths a couple of times and wave their hands about a little. Then they go back to the text and re-read it, ’cause that’s what good writing is for.
  • Writers, despite any abilities with words, often communicate better with body language and other wordless forms of communication. Words are tools, used sparingly and accurately for a specific purpose.  This can be awesome, both in a good way and a very, very bad way.
  • Tea is highly inspiring.
  • When the First Nations kids gather in front of Tim Horton’s with their drum and their voices, it’s just as moving as if they had gathered around a bonfire in the middle of a clearing.
  • The guy in Union Station who claims to be schizophrenic is just as entertaining as the guy who is schizophrenic, and they both like meat subs; I forgive them their carnivorous idiosyncrasies.
  • On Thursday evenings, people dance on the corner of Spadina and Bloor.  I think it’s salsa.  There doesn’t seem to be any one particular person in charge; someone sets up some big speakers and puts on the music, and the bodies start moving.  The better dancers are in the middle of the group, and the less-efficient are on the edges.  Those who are just learning stand along the edge of the sidewalk by the road, and the good dancers occasionally worm out of the throng and grab someone’s hand.  It doesn’t seem to matter who they teach: young girls teach old men, one young man teaches three other young men as if they were one body, middle-aged women dance in circles.  No one announces anything or directs the group.  They just dance.
  • In Union Station, the tone that gets your attention for announcements (which I can never understand) uses the same two not that the Anglican Church uses when chanting the Eucharist.  So I hear “The Lord…” and keep waiting for the “…be with you”.  It’s so ingrained in my brain that I’ve had to control myself from saying “And also with you” to the loudspeakers.  Although, I’m sure no one would be all that traumatised, as I’d just fit in with the rest of the weird ones in Union.

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