Farewell to Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is new Scotland.

It is my Scotland.

Nova Scotia is a dark and stormy coast that births brave and beautiful people who dance and sing and make music that is perfect and pure.

Halifax is that feeling in your heart. That ache and crest. That inconceivable rush when you kiss someone for the first time and everything is unfettered and flushed and on fire and you haven’t a breath in your body.

Halifax is wishing to live in that moment forever.

Halifax is the biggest sky you’ve ever seen. It’s a blue that burns.

Halifax is your neighbour practicing their bagpipes at 8 AM on a Saturday morning. It is a farmers market selling Annapolis Valley cider and hand-knit socks.

It’s riding your bike through The Commons, just before sunset, and marveling at a world bathed in a rose gold glow. For a moment, everything pauses. For a moment, the world collectively releases its breath.

Halifax is, for a moment, letting yourself go.

Halifax is walking along the waterfront, wind-battered and rattled, wondering what the winter will bring. It’s wondering how anyone could live through this.

Halifax is living through this.

Halifax is running and running and running and realizing that no matter how hard you try, you cannot outrun everything.

Halifax is letting your hair grow and your nails heal. It’s three months of restless sleep and restless nights and tears of such surprising heartbreak that, no matter what, you are never ready.

Halifax is getting caught off guard. It’s letting yourself get caught off guard.

Halifax is a city built on folklore and myth, sea shanties and Stan Rogers.

Its days are fueled by harbour hopping tourists and university students.

The Rotary. The Arm. The Waeg. The Coast.

It’s the ego of knowing that Nova Scotia is the best maritime province, but never saying that it’s the best maritime province.

It’s a night that stretches, wraps its arms snug around your shoulders, warming you with a laughter unlike one you’ve ever known.

It’s laughing until you cannot laugh. Doubled over by bad dates and mingled fates. Staring at the gallows of death and disease, and daring them to try.

It’s a love that transcends continents and causeways.

It’s a love that cascades.

Halifax is family, sitting in a kitchen and talking.

Halifax is sitting in a kitchen. The indefinable comfort of sitting in a kitchen.

Halifax is a barbecue where one person starts singing, and then everyone starts singing.

Halifax is just knowing all of the words.

It’s Sonny’s Dream.  And Gillis Mountain. And The Whistling Rover.

It’s unironically loving Rita MacNeil.

Halifax is a city that quietly swallows you whole.

Nova Scotia makes your blood run a little hotter. Gives your legs a new strength.

It forces you to stop. To stare at a sky, and feel the limitless of a place that is haunted and vaunted, and never unnecessarily so.

There is magic here.

Nova Scotia is new Scotland.

It is my Scotland.

And though I am far away, on the briny ocean tossed, I know she heaves a sigh and a wish for me.

Game over man! GAME OVER!

Hey kids!

I have a confession to make.

But first –

WHAT THE CRAP IS THIS:

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Argh!

Foot-less tights!? WHY?

I mean, it’s totally my fault that I purchased them without realizing that they are, in fact, footless.

But at the same time, I just assumed that anytime I bought something marketing themselves as “tights” that they would, you know, cover my feet.

HENCE THEM BEING TIGHTS.

And why in the ever-loving heck would I buy fleece-lined tights, if not for the sweet, sweet heat they would bring to my frozen tootsies throughout the long, and frigid Canadian winters?

Certainly not for the slimming factor!

These things bring a bulk to my calves previously known only to competitive stair runners and long-distance cyclists.

But I digress.

I will suffer through this fashion injustice.

If only for potential blog hits.

NEXT!

Back to the original purpose of this entry – my confession.

This past Saturday, Marc and I woke up late and decided to go see Ender’s Game. It is one of his favourite books of all time, and for many moons I have been extolling the virtues of Mr. Scott Card’s literary genius to all those who asked if I too had read the book.

Only, I had, you know, never actually cracked it open.

I AM A GIANT FRAUD!

I’m not exactly sure why I pretended that I had in fact read the book. I think a lot of it has to do with protecting my nerd cred – I have read and loved so much science fiction, that I figured by admitting that I had omitted such an important novel, people might take me less seriously.

(Even though the more I think about it, people would probably be more likely to forgive this literary transgression, than you know, LYING TO THEIR FACES LIKE A BALD-FACED SCOUNDRAL.)

Even Marc had assumed that I had read it – and was shocked to hear on our exit from the theatre that I had no knowledge of the written words in which to compare the film.

(SPOILER: I thought that movie was pretty grim, and Marc just downright hated it.)

In preparation of watching the film, I read a really fabulous article on Grantland this past Friday by Rany Jazayerli.

It looks at the controversy that’s surrounded Card and his career for the past decade – his rabid homophobia, and xenophobia to be precise – and how these views stand in such sharp contrast to the messages of love and tolerance that permeate so much of his writing (and in particular Endger’s Game and its sequels.)

It made me think of how it is we are able to separate an artist from their art – and who we are willing to make exceptions for, and why?

For instance, I have never understood Hollywood’s enduring love affair with Roman Polanski. To me, the man is nothing more than a rapist who refused to face the consequences of his actions, and I couldn’t give two cares about his movies or his talent for storytelling.

I also don’t care if John Galliano ever designs another dress, and I certainly don’t care if [insert name of professional athlete convicted of doping/sexual assault/animal abuse] ever plays another game for the rest of their lives.

And yet, despite this hard-held views, I will always, always give the latest Woody Allen film a try.

I definitely don’t feel good about this choice, but it’s something that I do, and that I accept.

My love for Annie Hall is just so strong that it propels me to seek out what this man – this quirky, strange, totally perverse man – might next deliver to the big screen.

It’s an off-putting balancing act: while I definitely do not support his life-choices (in fact, I find them downright disturbing), I do really like many of his films.

And I like that I am at least conscious enough to identify this push-pull binary that lives inside of me, despite the fact that it’s an on-going struggle to figure out where this leaves me standing – especially if we’re talking moral, and not literal ground.

But alas, such is life. I’ll just have to keep working on it.

And in the meantime, I’m going to crack open Ender’s Game and finally see what all the fuss is about.

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Because if I know one thing that’s going to help both my morality and nerd cred, it will be to finally stop lying about having read the book, and to just read it.

Finally.

These beautiful words

I am beginning to think that I am the only one alive who still writes in cursive.

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Talk about your dying art.

And it makes me sad.

You can wax poetic about the information age all you want, but the fact of the matter is so many individuals (of all ages) just cannot hand-write – either for the life of them, or, well, because they just don’t know how.

(I won’t even get into what this means for spelling and grammar because that is a chestnut for another fire, er – time.)

I can remember being a little girl and wanting so badly to learn how to write in cursive.

As a kid, I was always on the move, and when I wasn’t practicing my times tables in the car on the way to piano – no joke, I can remember reciting my sevens over and over again while trying to memorize all of my scales and arpeggios – I was badgering my mother to teach me how to make my g’s look just like hers.

(My mom makes great, GREAT g’s.)

I finally wore her down and she bought me a booklet that taught me the letters, and gave me the means to practice them over, and over, and over again.

I pretty sure I finished all the worksheets in the space of a week, because once I began to get a feel for the English cursive alphabet, I was hooked.

It was like graphology crack, only for an eight year old.

(Graphology Flintstones crack?)

I loved the beautiful lines, and the dramatic loops; the way my letters ran together, and how the ink didn’t.

Because I was also a dancer, I imagined my words to be a series of steps, intricate and dazzling, but outwardly effortless.

Hand writing always made me feel so very posh. Like I somehow wrote myself into a royal lineage every time I signed my name, or marked down the date at the top of my in-class quizzes and essays.

As I grew up, I could never understand how my classmates steadfastly clung to their printing, unwilling to hand-write at any cost.

It seemed archaic.

And wrong.

I was astounded to find out at university that fellow students would actually print during midterms and finals.

Didn’t that take forever? Wouldn’t that cramp your hand twice as fast?

Why oh why would anyone forsake the promised script? Who were these non-disciples of the cursive way?

The job I had whilst in grad school required me to write a final exam (very top secret stuff here folks) and afterwards my examiner approached me to tell me that out of all forty candidates, I had been the only one to hand-write my answers.

I remain to this day, shocked, appalled, and just a little bit smug.

(Just kidding. I remain only two of those things.)

In terms of my relationship with writing these days, well, my favourite letters remain ‘r’ and ‘m’ – I like the way they feel in my hand and the way they glide away from my pen.

I love writing cards for loved ones, signing my name in wedding guest books, and filling out comment cards at conferences.

I like to think that I leave a little piece of myself every time I write, whenever I write.

And I look forward to being an old woman, sitting at her desk.

Smiling, I will put pen to paper.

And I will remember.