Reverb 10: December 13

Today’s Reverb10 post is an easy one for me in terms of knowing my next step.

Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

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Reverb 10: December 10, 11, 12

Floaty

December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I know I’ve been a broken record about this on my site, but it took up a lot of space during the year, and was generally a Big, Important Life Event for me. So, yes, obviously the wisest decision made in 2011 was Andrew and I leaving our jobs, renting out our apartment and going to Greece. I don’t know when we’ll be able to do something like that again – it’s going to take awhile to build up those depleted savings accounts! – but the effects will resonate for quite awhile.  If you’ve read even a handful of entries from this site, you can probably figure out how it played out. Continue reading

Reverb10: December 9

Ok! Let’s get back to this thing.

Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Girls on the dance floor!

Lisa & Alain’s wedding in France! We wore party dresses, drank more champagne than I ever have in my life, ate until midnight and danced. In a small French village. It was perfect.

Montreal launch!

My book launches! I wore the same thing to all my launches, a black and white polka-dot dress. I drank a lot of red wine, was pretty spazzy, but happy, happy, happy.

Rainy

Our last evening in Paris we had a picnic with my cousin, Panayiotis, and his girlfriend Marieme. The Champs de Mars slowly cleared out as rain started to fall, but we just unfolded a couple of umbrellas they’d had the foresight of bringing and stayed put. We bought multiple types of cheese and characuteries from the Grande Epicerie and it was perfect, our little rainy Parisian picnic.

Reverb 10: December 7

After mentioning the Rufus Wainwright concert I attended in June a few days ago, I spent this evening watching him perform in Montreal. It was gorgeous and moving and I walked home in freshly fallen snow, snuggled in my gigantic parka, feeling many Feelings and thinking about how much I love Montreal, my life here. Despite – actually, even because of! – these big, swirly snowstorms. But more than that too.

Today’s prompt is apt then:

Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Before leaving for Greece, it occurred to me that it might be strange to live in a place where I didn”t know many people. Andrew and I would be there together, of course, and I did have some friends and family, but would I feel isolated? And even if it was only a few months, would it affect any of my friendships in Canada? I wasn’t too worried about it, though, and as it turned out, I had no reason to be.

It’s not so much that I “discovered” this community in 2010, but I’ve been realizing more and more as I get older how much I treasure and value the solid relationships I have in my life. In Greece, in Canada, my little network of friends. I think of late nights in Athens having those conversations that start off completely innocuously and then suddenly it’s after midnight and you’re talking about the meaning of life and no one knows, but it’s fun to hypothesize. And I think of my life here in Montreal, my girlfriends I can count on for anything from writing support to drinking buddies to the occasional light grey nail polish. I think of points in between and feel warm and fuzzy.

Excuse my sappiness, but it’s after midnight on a work night. Allow me my sentimentality.

In 2011, in addition to nurturing the community of friends I’ve mentioned above (which I hope means more excuses for dinner dates, day trips, long distance phone calls, maybe letters?), I’d like to reconnect more with folks online. I’ve been a little one-sided these days, I think. I’ll work on it.

Reverb10: December 6

Working on a zine

Today’s prompt:

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

The last thing I made was my zine, Places & Things. It’s pretty bare bones as far as zines go – mostly text cut up and pasted down. I also printed out a few photos to break up some of the words. The cover is composed of various vintage Greek postal stamps. Andrew bought me a bunch from the Sunday flea market in Monastiraki when we were in Athens and I meant to use them for other crafty projects, but so far they’ve only made it as far as my zine. (Would you like a copy of it? Why not order it?)

Summer 2010 Iphone

As for what I’m going to make next, the truth is that I want to focus my making-things energy on getting my novel draft up to snuff. That and some Christmas cookies. I really want to do some good Christmas baking this year.

P.S. It’s nice to have a non-draining prompt like this on my first day of a new job. My brain feels a little stuffed with cotton, so I’m just going to end this now and go out into the first Montreal snowstorm to hang out with my girlfriends.

Reverb10: December 5

Today’s prompt is from one of my favourite bloggers, Alice Bradley of Finslippy.

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

A few days ago in NYC, Andrew and I were taking a mid-afternoon break at the Ninth Avenue Vintner (because cheese and alcohol is exactly the kind of pick-me-up you need when you’re walking all over Manhattan, right?). My phone rang, I answered it and it was my cousin calling all the way from Greece to tell me that he’d just finished reading my book! And he was excited! He loved it! And he wanted to talk to me about it! I decided to accept insane roaming charges because it’s always nice to hear someone say nice things about you, even if they’re related to you and contractually obligated to do so. But then he said something strange. He said, “I love how you killed off your father in one of your stories! SO FUNNY!” And then he continued trying to connect parts of my real life to my stories.  I took a big gulp of wine.

This wasn’t the first conversation I’ve had like this. A few weeks ago at dinner, one of my friends asked me, “Hey, so have you made out in a storage warehouse before?”. At work, I was making photocopies and a co-worker came up to me to tell me that she’d finished my book and she wanted to know what “really happened” at the end of “Baby Teeth”. My own mother, on Skype, delightedly told me that she was glad there was a character based on her.

Gah! What? Guys! Discussion about whether or not my stories are based on or stolen from real life make me uncomfortable! I didn’t write the book to kill off my own father or confess to anything I might have done in my past. And hey, if I did? I don’t want to talk about it. It’s funny, really, these questions and curiosities, and I don’t blame them because the book now belongs to the rest of the world, not just me, and it can be scrutinized any way a reader wants. For someone who has kept so much of my fiction writing to myself for years, it’s a vulnerable feeling knowing that my stories are out there, running around and having their own little lives without me. I know most of this defensiveness stems from Bats or Swallows being my first book – I will toughen up eventually – but sometimes I can only shake my head at the weirdness of it all. It’s funny and I’m grateful for it, but man, sometimes it’s just weird.

So, yeah, I let go of my first book. Enjoy it, world.

Reverb 10

Agistri sunset

Have you heard of Reverb 10? From the site,

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

Basically, the site gives you prompts, and you write about them. I kept seeing the hashtag on Twitter and then some of the blogs I read started participating, and because one of my blog resolutions is to update more frequently, and there’s nothing I love more than reflecting, I’m going to jump in too. I’m not crazy about the word “manifest”, but I’ll get over it. I’ve missed the first 4 prompts, so I’m going to squish a few together to catch up.

December 1: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? and December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

2010, for me, was nothing less than adventure. I launched my first book and Andrew and I lived in Greece for a few months. I’d never done any of these things before.

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