Getting it Donne

The thing that everyone forgets, when writing long missives about how easy it is to be away from a loved one, is that it’s all complete bollocks.

This became glaringly obvious to me the moment that I found myself standing in the Halifax airport check-in hall, hung over, wearing my mother in-laws old paint spattered sweatpants, with day-old wedding hair, and a stomach churning from dodgy Thai leftovers.

I was crying my absolute eyes out because I felt as though my heart was being wrenched from my chest with a rusty ice claw.

And one would think that, having done this so many times before, that I would never forget how much this hurts, but for some reason, like child birth (I assume) and the act of running a marathon (I know), I just always forget.

Call it the John Donne syndrome. Some stodgy old British genius pens one poem about how gauche it is to show emotion about leaving your spouse for an extended period of time, and suddenly (okay, like 400 years later) we all want to pretend as though spending months away from your life-long kissing partner is easy peasy lemon squeezy.

And yes, I am aware that I am protesting a little too much. It’s been a cool sixteen hours since I bade farewell to Marc at ye good ole’ Standfield International, and my tear ducts are still a little raw. I know that once I get into the groove of things here in the city, the days and weeks and months will literally fly by and before I know it I’ll be back in his arms, cracking jokes about Elizabeth May and watching Danish cop shows.


Speaking of John Donne – I really shouldn’t be so harsh, because I really do love him and many of his works of metaphysical brilliance.

One poem, in particular, will always hold a very special place in my heart: A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning.

I have a very distinct memory of first hearing it in Literature 12, when Mr. Hill, our teacher, and one of my early great loves, read it aloud for the class. He fancied himself a sort of Falstaff/Leonard Cohen figure, and I am pretty sure he knew that most of the class was completely in love with him.

To this day, I don’t know if it was my crush, or the power of the oral word, but everything that he read that year has stuck with me.

At first, I thought Donne seemed pretty uptight, what with so much of his writing purposefully contrasting that of his Elizabethan contemporaries. Donne found most modern prose too smooth, too easy, and it was his aim to experiment with the concept of “dislocation”, peppering his writing with abrupt starts and stops, metaphors and ironies.

(You know, all of the good literary stuff that keeps us lazy readers on our toes.)

Check the below portion of the poem:

So let us melt, and make no noise,

   No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;

‘Twere profanation of our joys

   To tell the laity our love.


Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,

   Men reckon what it did and meant;

But trepidation of the spheres,

   Though greater far, is innocent.


Dull sublunary lovers’ love

   (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

   Those things which elemented it.


But we, by a love so much refined

   That our selves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

   Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.


Our two souls therefore, which are one,

   Though I must go, endure not yet

A breach, but an expansion.

   Like gold to airy thinness beat.

I will never, ever tire of the metaphor of the golden thread that ties Donne and his wife Anne together, and my favourite line is: “So let us melt, and make no noise.”

So let us melt and make no noise.

What a perfect image. Such a perfect thought.

It’s one that I think about often as I start a little bit of a new life here in Nova Scotia.

I am melting. And making just a little bit of noise.

I am thinking about healthy ways that I can keep busy. When I spend too much time in my head, I start to think about all of the things that are wrong and bad with me. I think about how much I weigh, or how little I am doing with my life, and why I am not writing more or running faster. I go rope-a-dope with myself as hard as I can until I am left unable to stand.

So last night I wrote out a list of goals that I want to achieve during my time here on the east coast. I found a small note pad of paper and wrote them out on a single sheet, before tucking them away in a chest of drawers.

I figured this would be the closest I could possibly get to burying them in the backyard, like some kind of elementary school time capsule.

(I think about a lot of weird things sometimes. Like, for instance, do you think if someone ran over the person who one week prior ran over their husband that anyone would believe that she didn’t do it on purpose? P.S. This didn’t actually happen and I am not this woman.)

Part of my three-month plan is to go to bed each night having written out a few things that I would like to achieve over the course of the next day. So today saw me signing up for a gym membership and registering myself for two ten kilometer races – one in September and one in October. They are both races put on by MEC and I figure they’re good bets because I’ve loved running their Vancouver series. My cousin David has also started running and he has his own goals of completing a 10k race, so he’ll be joining me on the start line.

It’s always so much nicer to have someone with you on race day.

Another catalyst for these goals is that fact that I don’t have many friends here, and I figure if you don’t have friends, you might as well just get really fit (and hopefully make some friends in the process.)

But mostly I am really trying to melt.

I am trying to be nice to myself.

I am trying to melt.

And to make good noise.

I shall desire more love and knowledge of you

In Act Two Scene Seven of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, the melancholy Jacques begins his monologue with the line: “All the World’s a Stage.”

To this day, this is one of old Willy’s most famous and oft quoted lines and, of course, like so many of Shakespeare’s brilliant quotes, has become interwoven into our everyday parlance and vernacular.

Aside from humanity’s daily play-acting and always-dramatic machinations (think of how your “work” self might differ from say, your ‘home” self, as well as the ever-degenerating circus we like to call International Politics) there are many people for whom the world IS a stage, both personally and professionally.

I am of course speaking of thespians, or actors, or dramatists, or however else we (or they) would like to be classified.

Actors make us believe in make believe.

Through this proclamation – that all the world is a stage – they actually make us forget this (easily parodied but always present) reality.

This is one hell of a paradox, but is ultimately the magic of great theater (or cinema, or whatever other artistic medium a performance might take.)

Brilliant actors have the power to transform – not only as individuals on stage in character, but transform all of us who sit watching, entranced.

When I was in grade twelve I went to a production of the Daniel McIvor’s Marion Bridge.

For three hours I sat barely breathing, enraptured by three women who commanded the stage with such understated and yet overwhelming brilliance.

The play is about three Nova Scotian sisters – a nun, an actress, and a truck driver – who are all coming to grips with the sickness, and eventual death of their mother.

It is an uproariously hilarious and deeply devastating work of art.

Driving home with my then-boyfriend after the final curtain call I cried harder than I can ever remember crying up until that point in my life.

It was as I had stumbled upon and then cracked open a long-forgotten and deeply hidden store of unrelenting sadness.

When I think about that drive, all I can remember is the taste of my fat, hot tears, and the sensation of my deflated body wracked by a heart-shattered palsy.

My poor boyfriend just kept looking over at me and asking, “Are you alright?”

And while all of my answers were just different iterations of blubbered wails, all I really want to tell him was that I couldn’t be more right.

I was all right.


Of late, I’ve been moving. Gifted with an abundance of extra energy, I feel like an ever re-generating battery, charging about in search of my lost bunny ears.

This dynamism has manifested itself in early morning pre-work runs, and late-evening workouts (as I watch old episodes of QI on Netflix.)

Yesterday morning I ran the farthest I’ve ever ran in one outing – twenty-three kilometers. I recently signed-up for my first full marathon (Boundary Bay on November 2nd) so I figured it’s time to stop faffing around and get serious.

I even fell at 12.5km, but picked myself up and carried on my way.

I want some serious mileage under my belt by the time that starting gun is fired.

(Because I secretly, though not-so-secretly, really, really want to quality for Boston at this race.)

However all of this activity can make it hard to find the quiet moments.

So I’ve been using these long training sessions to work on my ability to just “be” with myself.

I’ve been really trying to focus on this whole mindfulness thing.

I’m trying to be fully engaged – both mentally and physically. (Much like the aforementioned Jacques, only my wealth of optimism stands much less depleted.)

I’m trying to really feel everything.

Which is hard.


Dance parties ALL OF THE TIME.

Which is easy.

Let’s sway, while color lights up your face

Well, first things first.

A nor’easter blew in early yesterday morning, dumping snow all over Halifax. As it was also winding like a winding thing, many flights ended up being completely cancelled – including ours.

2012-12-25 12.41.08

Ho hum, pigs bum.

So, as a result (and because US Airways has only been able to get us on a flight tomorrow night), Mr. M and I will be spending New Years with the fam.

Honestly, I haven’t rung in a new three hundred and sixty-five days with my mom and sister for many, many moons, so despite the fact that I am a little bummed about not being able to be with my friends tonight, I am so looking forward to spending a few more hours with these amazing, brilliant, hilarious, and completely bonkers women.

Games will be played, oh yes.

And movies watched, and good food eaten.

A glass of bubbly may be imbibed at midnight.

I don’t know about you cats, but New Years is a always such a peculiar celebration to me.

I’ve written before how I don’t actually celebrate a new year come January 1, but on September 1 (because that, for me, is when the new year actually begins – having been brainwashed by years and years of back to school shopping, and labour day long weekends) so I never really know what to do with myself when this time of year rolls around.

I also have this weird belief that as soon as Christmas is over, spring should be just around the corner, almost as if Boxing Day should herald the arrival of cherry blossoms and blue skies.

2012-12-25 12.52.57

Knowing that we have three more months of winter to plod through is always just a little bit discombobulating.

I don’t really make resolutions, because throughout the year I am constantly making new goals, and revising old targets and expectations.

(But I sure do love reading all your posts about your objectives for the next twelve months.)

There are, however, many things that I am looking forward to next year.

Running the Sunshine Coast and Whistler half-marathons; being a part of three (three!) weddings next summer, and visiting New York in July; more stand-up gigs, speaking engagements, and radio shows; celebrating five years of marriage with my soul mate; and taking on new adventures in all avenues of my life.

All of these things actually give me goosebumps just thinking about them.

Talk about exciting and invigorating.

(Okay, okay! I would be remiss if it I didn’t say that I REALLY want to run a sub 1:30 half, and I REALLY want to do forty push-ups in a row.)

Can I say that those are my New Years 2013 resolutions? Are those resolutions? Either way, I’m going with it.

I will continue (to work on) keeping my anxiety in check, and my body issues at bay.

I will keep ranting, and keep rolling.

I will, also, continue to run, and write, and dream, and love – I will love my life with the fire and ferocity that life should be loved.

And I so much look forward to sharing this love.

2012-12-24 14.47.42

Happy New Year to you all!

A peep through the curtains

Good morrow friends!

Well that weekend absolutely flew by.

M and I keep saying that one of these days we are going to have a laid back, solitary fin de semain – but until that day, we seem to just jam pack our Saturdays and Sundays with as much activity as humanly possible.

On Friday night I made a massive batch of mint pea soup, and parmesan toast and just barely managed break away from the beckoning comfort of my pajamas and the cozy heat of the fireplace, and instead ventured out into the rain to meet up with a bunch of M’s colleagues.

Two of them play in a ridiculously awesome surf band, so we enjoyed a drink (stout for M, white wine for me) and listened to the sweet sounds of what can only be described as a live rendition of a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack.

(Which, to be honest, is pretty the only way I can stand Tarantino – his music, or otherwise.)

The rest of the weekend was a blur of house hunting, runs in the rain, meet ups with friends, runs in the sun, pumpkin carving, shopping for birthday presents, family dinners, and a couple of episodes of Top Gear, just to keep things fresh.


At one point this weekend, conversation turned to bucket lists, and I began to ponder what events or achievements I may choose to populate my own list.

Without spending copious amounts of time thinking it over, I did come across three things that I would really like to achieve within the next year.

They include:

1.)    Dying my hair blonde. This was only further exacerbated by my friend Tracy’s e-mail which read:

Wow, imagine you a blondie!!! Doooo it! It would look so hot :) And it’s just fun to muck around with hair colour.

I cannot argue with this logic.

2.)    Run a half-marathon in under 1:30:00, a 10km in under 40:00, and just run a marathon PERIOD.

3.)    Send at least five separate pieces of writing to publications in the aim of getting them published.

It’s good to have goals right? And now that they are out here in the interwebs, there’s no going back. I expect all of you brilliant chaps to keep me to my word, okay?

No faffing around allowed.

In the interim, let’s have a dance why don’t we?

Aaaaaaaaand SNAPS:

Hallo pumpkins!
Paddington Bear coat.
Homemade pasta and garlic bread.
Sunday sky.
Amazing veggie burger.
Post-run badassery.
Adventure cat!

What did you cats get up to this weekend?

And what’s on your bucket list (yearly, or lifetime?)

And if you’re looking for a hair dying partner in crime, well then, I’m your gal.