Love and Rain

You walk around the corner looking poised, tall, and calm. You’re not. Most people you can fool. Some you can’t and have tried to stay far away from. Usually it’s because you love them. Now, it is a man with dapper shoes, a messy house, and quotes on the bathroom mirror, who waves at you in a way that you mistake for wanting a high five but instead he gives you a hug. He wasn’t what you asked for. Or maybe he was. Yes, you asked for him; the only person in the world whom you can’t fool. You flounder. He puts his hand on you to be still. He hears but doesn’t listen to any of it because you don’t make sense. He smiles and gives you a kiss. You’re quiet. He was a complete accident that you tripped over on the way to a known life. You wonder if falling in love is always this disorienting because you forget that you’ve been in love before.  It forces you out of yourself and you forget to even put clothes on. Love is like that. You forget you’re naked and forget to be poised and quiet and controlled. You feel like you’ve lost half your weight but realize you’ve gained the weight of an entire person. Your centre of gravity moves. It’s somewhere between you and him but it moves. You chase it and you run away from it. This is disastrous and it’s all you have ever wanted. 

Spilling all over yourself you think you should have been more specific about the love you actually wanted, as if we really have control over anything. Everything in your life starts to look like a mess from the state of your kitchen floors to your toenails.

You have time for nothing. You don’t sleep or even know if you’re happy or simply crazy. You decide on crazy because love is something that happens to someone when they’re 19 and don’t have kitchen floors to clean or anything to hide. But, even monks fall in love. You read this in a book and it makes you feel human, like all this messy stuff can be separated from the stillness that you thought you had before this whole love thing came about. 

You see lightning strike and you watch it rain. You unfold a chair and place it on the covered deck and soon realize that you’re holding hands. He runs out into the rain and you watch smiling and hear your mother’s warning about getting struck by lightning in an open field. He comes back and you give him your seat and head out into the rain when the sky breaks and the sun starts shining. It reminds you of the torrents of Summer in Costa Rica where you went alone and had the second best time of your life with the ocean and a surf board. For a moment, you forget he’s there but then remember he’s watching, smiling and in love.


This is What I know

I know that in late May

The lilac bushes outside my front door are full of blossoms and bees

My doorstep smells like life, and temporary things, and the man I will one day love

Greedy to become this sweet scent, I was once stung on the corner of my eyelid

I hadn’t noticed the soft buzzing sound that you can hear once you are quiet

Bees only become dangerous when I’m around

I know that a weighty summer breeze is better than most sex

This see-through nothingness makes love in innocence and truth

Sense is heightened, mind is comforted, and it lasts as long as the sun

The wind never forgets how to breathe my body in and out

There’s no before and after

I know there’s a not a big difference between love and forever

I remember just the breath of a lover on my neck, that time just before

In between lovers and the lost, life happens

It rains and we get weighed down with water dripping from the sky

I don’t know where the bees go

From that space between the lilacs and the bees

The midair of bewilderment and rich opportunity

Full of it and fat with possibility 

The suspended breath in between everything 

Where we think there are beginning and ends

How to write: Show up (writing process/inspiration)

Show up. Whatever you do. Show up. You don’t have to be out of your pyjamas or even out of your bed. Put your pen to paper or your fingers to the keys and start. Open to something beyond your cotton flannel striped sheets that you should have changed weeks ago and write. It’s there. It’s always there. Somewhere along the lines, we were told that daydreaming is a waste of time, a liability, a hazard but we still can’t seem to shut it up. Daydream on paper. Dream big on big white sheets of nothing. Don’t feel guilty about spending your whole day whittling away at a story, if we’re lucky enough to ever have a full day to write. There is nothing more important. Except people. Don’t forget people. Stories aren’t created in a vacuum.

I once took a two week trip to Costa Rica to start my first great novel while staying in an octagon-shaped casita on the beach. The place could have slept a family of five and it was just me, the sound of the ocean, the bonfire that a boy would light at sunset, two bats that would fly the same pattern around the room at nighttime, and an iguana in the rafters that would occasionally crap on the tile floor. The place was beautiful and quiet and I couldn’t write a word. My plan was to ‘house-up’ for ten days and write, walk on the beach, write, do yoga, and write. After two days of nothingness, I went to a coffee shop and heard people talking about people and saw tattoos of flowers that don’t grow in Canada drawn down the waist of a tanned blond-haired waitress. I wrote about a man holding a gun in my mother’s face when she was 12 and a man who ate 3 bulbs of garlic a day for health and buried all his money in boxes in the ground for safe keeping until an old friend who I had met years before when I lived in the town for a while sat down with me. Then he came for dinner.

I didn’t cook. He did. I had wine while the bats flew above us in the casita. I was drunk from the sound of the beach and an Israeli speaking earnestly with enthusiasm that if we want to make a million dollars, it’s actually not all that difficult, we just have to show up. We set the intention and we show up. He told me he could teach me everything he knows about real estate and that within a few years I’d be a millionaire. We don’t have to work ourselves to the bone. It was mine, if I wanted it. I liked the way he chopped vegetables and the way he could calmly cook, talk and tell me how to make a million dollars even though I didn’t like him. Not in that way. I like his accent and that he was open and honest and unpretentious about money. 

I moved the table so that it wasn’t directly underneath the iguana and we ate something that makes sense to eat on a beach in Central America. After dinner, we drank the last of a bottle of tequila with a scorpion in the bottom while sitting at the bonfire that had again been magically lit. Is this what it feels like to get bitten by these little buggers without the pain? We talked about how we felt and the best word I could come up with was ‘wonky’. There was the light of the moon flashing on the rolling water, and the fire and the tiki lights that shot up from underground. Dark places surrounded the palm trees and everything in between.

He made a move, which I didn’t see coming and I said no thanks. He was respectful. Not tonight? He said. I need to go to bed, I said. Let’s meet tomorrow for coffee, he said, I could teach you about real estate. No thanks, I said, I have to write in the morning.