Friday, June 01, 2007

Nine Years In The Making

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On June 1st, 1998, I left Kelowna and moved to Vancouver.

I came to the big city, like most do, to seek fame and fortune. Nine years later, broke and obscure, I keep telling myself: any day now.

Yet much has changed for me in these nine years. Though I am still accosted by the black dog on a daily basis, I recognise depression now more for its bark than its bite. I cannot shut off the sound of my own voice inside my head telling me outrageous lies, but at least now I recognise them as lies. Also, since no one else can hear them, they really don't matter. As long as I don't repeat them, or start to believe them, I know everything will be alright.

There are people who seem to waft through life, and there are others whose lives seem to live themselves. I persevere, ignoring the fact that the bulk of that word is severe. Such is English, the language I love; it's perverse, which is probably why I love it so much. I have thrived because I have survived, so that each new day is a victory in itself.

I stay for any number of reasons: the beautiful setting, the reasonable weather, the fact that Vancouver is still new enough for me to find room for my niche. These things barely compensate for the savagery of its gay men, the cliquishness of its arts and publishing communities, the sink-or-swim cruelty of its governments. Barely, but they do.

All of my problems are my own to correct, but whenever I've needed help in the past, the cosmos has always managed to send an angel to aid me in my time of need. When I broke up with Dirk, with whom I moved here, I met Doug, and then Seumas - just the friends I needed to shepherd me through my darkest times. Sometimes pulling, sometimes pushing, I'd have never made it this far without them.

It was while living here that I lost Boo - the light of my life - and then found Pandora, who isn't so much a light as a car alarm in a fur coat. Still, she's definitely been an anchor for me, in more ways than one.

Part of my fascination with Vancouver today resides in its construction. I watch with awe at how it's changing, building up, rising. At each new building site I pass I memorise what the hoardings look like, so that some day when I'm standing in front of the shiny new slab they represent I'll be able to remember the pitted plywood, and the dreams it had.

With each new tower I can feel my own roots deeper into the ground. I take a picture (or ten) and then I move on, almost smug in the knowledge that each shot is a seed from which future poignance will grow.

As for this blog, it's been the greatest of all the innovations I've encountered since moving here. I realise I could blog anywhere, but if I did it in Manhattan or in London it would be a very different thing than it is here; in addition to being just one in a crowd of hundreds, I'd be retreading the same steps previously trod by many, rather than merely a few.

Someday, who knows? I may decide that I've had it with Vancouver's provincialism; I may decide that holding a man in my arms matters more to me than climate. It might do me good to see some other part (or parts) of the world for a few years, knowing full well that Vancouver will always be waiting for me to return.

In the meantime, it's back to work, to perservere with my perversity, to make the universe my university, to try and create a more diverse diversity.
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1 comment:

Seumas Gagne said...

Onward!