August 20th, 2014

long beard

Thoughts on my name

From a July 10th writing workshop class:

In English the meaning of my name can be found on Page 1125 of The Really, Really Big Book of Baby Names. In Mother it means I'm about to be lassoed into some novel unpleasantness. It's an off-the-shelf generic name. If I ever change it, it will be to something new and different. This reminds me: I helped English teachers in Polish classrooms and every class had six kids named Przemek.

I didn't start truncating it to "Will" myself but the kids in school took it upon themselves to do so and eventually I went along with it. I self-identify either way, depending on my mood and the formality of the situation.

The best moment for "William" was when my childhood sweetheart said "Oh William" to me in the summer of Grade 8 after I said something that would have to study for three more years to achieve the status of corny joke.

The best moment for "Will" was near the end of Grade 11 when my classmates shouted it repeatedly during my candidate's speech for the position of Student's Council Vice President. They shouted and stomped and cheered.

And like how this is going, my friend running for President ran out of time and they cut his mic.
long beard

Where I'm from

From a July 10th writing workshop class:

I am from not-quite-the-sea. An Island surrounded by water*, but I grew up on a farm. I never liked fishing. I don't like seafood.

Similarly, I majored in English but I studiously avoided poetry, as one professor put it.

But I smelled the sea on the boat and it meant I was going somewhere. I find the smell of the sea exciting. Now if only I could travel on it.

It's our right to leave Canada. But no other country is obliged to take you. But the Sea has no countries. The Sea is always open.

Smell of travel
Sight of distance
Feeling of adventure
Taste of possibilities
Sound of emptiness
No countries
Always open
Farmboy on a boat

* - Waitaminit, aren't all islands... yeah. Silly Will.
long beard

To my Master (Lock)

From a July 10th writing workshop class:

O Master... Lock
You are so shiny, wearing your thick sandwiched plates
You could stop a bullet
I saw it on YouTube

Your keyhole is like two letter Ls - an upside down one and a backwards on perched on the end of it.
I'd love to open you up and see how you work
But you're patented
And I lost your key

You are Master Lock number 22.
22nd in a proud line of Master Locks.
Who is the most Masterful Master?
Master Lock number 1? Or Master Lock number 315?
Where were you patented? Do all the other locks from the other manufacturers acknowledge your supremacy?

Secure all my belongings, O Master Lock.
Keep those other junior high kids from stealing my books and leaving them in the toilet.
Keep them from playing keep away with my things at recess.
Keep them from discovering my use of the women's underwear section of the Zellers flyer as my locker liner.

You give no clue as to where you were made.
Were you Made in the USA, land of the free?
Were you Made in a Chinese factory just for me?
Have you travelled farther than I'll ever go?
Have you locked the poetry in a 14-year-old girl's journal?
You are as inscrutable as she was.
long beard

Will Matheson in the Mystery of the No Mystery

For an August 7th writing workshop class:

I heard the satisfying crunch of the gravel as I sped down the driveway. Hearing the crunch at 3am was somehow different from hearing it at noon. Perhaps the darkness of night impelled me to divert extra attention to my hearing.

The tunnel of trees eventually gave way to reveal the house. The lights that were always on at night were on. The lights that weren't always on were off. The interior lights were off. The barn lights were off. The ... the upstairs bathroom light was on.

I must have just left it on when I left. But I left during the day, so why would I have turned that light on? The window lets in plenty of light.

I parked the car, slowly engaging the hand brake with what would otherwise be reassuring clicks. Engine off. The sounds of the door opening and closing must have carried a long way through the still night air and probably also across the still water of the nearby lake.

Though it wasn't as if anyone were trying to hear.

At least probably not.

I stepped lightly but briskly to the back door. The part where I walk from the car to the house is when I'm most vulnerable to predators. I hear bears can get to the Human McNuggets inside a car but in a car I could probably forcefully drive away provided too much of the bear wasn't already in or on the car. In the house I can shut the doors and barricade myself somewhere like the bathroom. No place is perfectly safe, but between the car and the house I am the least safe.

Step, step, step, turn knob, pull, step, turn myself, pull... exhale! I'm in!

I'm in the house I'm staying in, but it's not my house. It belonged to my grandparents and it is mostly still laid out the way they had it. As I step into the kitchen, turning on lights as I go along, a hundred little porcelain turtles eye me carefully.

"Hello?" I call out.

No response.

I walk to the other end of the kitchen and approach the stairs up. I see the bathroom light on at the top.

"Anyone in there?"


The green glow of the stair chair, parked at the bottom, illuminates the opening steps. I climb them. Then the bathroom light takes over for the top steps. I climb those.

"Is there someone in the bathroom?"

"Y at-il quelqu'un dans la salle de bain?"

"Czy jest ktoś w łazience?"

I hear nothing but silence. I step into the bathroom. In the bathroom I find...

"Amy, what's a scary thing you could find in a bathroom? In a scary story."

"Evidence of someone else being there? Like different coloured hair in your hairbrush? The toilet paper mounted facing the other way than you normally have it? The guest towel has been used?"

"How about a pin? Provided it's sitting on top of a package of condoms."

I found none of those things. I turned out the light. But... absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Whatever or whoever it was could still be in the house right now. Oooooooo.

That was a terrible scary story but at least it was original. The last time I tried to write one I just stole a story from one I read in a collection. Unfortunately, someone else in my class had read that collection and after I told "my" story, he said he'd heard it before. That was scarier for me than the story I retold.