Culture Days

I was very pleased to learn that Canada has “Culture Days” – specifically, the last weekend in September. As usual, lots of Things Happen all over the place. This weekend we’ve been to the local school’s 100th anniversary celebrations (but sadly missed their “Pancake breakfast”!), saw local band, The Lazy MKs play (Miri danced like a loon!) and then did lots of Art and Crafty things at the Neil Balkwell art gallery. And I have two new souvenir t-shirts for my collection:

Time Traveller souvenir shirt from Connaught School
Silk screen t-shirt printing at the art gallery

Best of all though, I managed to Get Involved in some of this! For the past few weekends, I attended creative writing and storytelling workshops at the Creative City Centre (housed in an old building downtown, on the second floor above a shoe shop – you REALLY have to know it’s there!). The workshops were run by a very talented local writer, Shayna Stock, and it was all centred around the theme of “home” (well, actually it was rather nauseatingly called “where the heart is”). I met some fabulous and fascinating people who all had completely different ideas of what Home meant and where it was. I really enjoyed the whole thing. However, the workshops were all a setup to coerce us into actually performing what we’d written on stage at the Artesian!

So, up I got, and told my stories of home. (written, edited, rewritten, and rehearsed – not done off the top of my head!). One was a Rant About Darlington that I’d adapted from a post I wrote on here nearly a year ago. It was bitter and angry and depressing, yet got a lot of laughs. Schadenfreude perhaps?

The other one was a “captured moment” piece, about what I really count as home – where my friends congregate. Since some of them have asked for it, here is my piece,

“(Re)connecting with Home”

When Carl left in April, when he forced himself back on a plane to the UK, leaving us behind, I told Miranda that Daddy had gone to live in the computer. Luckily, she accepted this unquestioningly. She is two, and this is normal. Weekly conversations via Skype became the thing to do. Four months passed.

It is 5pm Regina time. It is still hot, and we are sipping iced tea as I try and boot up the computer. Miranda is only partially interested, unsure whether the computer’s presence will mean watching her favourite cartoons. Suddenly though, Skype connects, and there is the kitchen of our old house. The images reach us first; – the room itself is looking surprisingly clean and tidy. Carl has been packing up everything we own to emigrate with. The curtains are drawn, it has gone midnight there.

We can see all my friends. Most of them are drunk.

Dave leans over the camera, upside down to us, tongue out, pulling faces through his thick ginger beard. Miri is momentarily frightened, but then giggles at him.

Then, the sound kicks in. It is awful quality, and I think to myself, “really must get a decent webcam”. It is nearly impossible to distinguish any one conversation, but there is Chelle’s dirty laugh, there’s Dave’s dulcet, northern tones recounting one of the long-winded anecdotes that he always tells when he’s had a few. There’s the chink of beer bottles. It’s Carl’s leaving party!

Rachel appears on the screen briefly, her hair dyed black this week. “Me and Chris had a row” she announces, stoicly, and grimaces as if she’d just lost her keys or something. A minor inconvenience.

And then – there he is! My Carl, my beloved husband of thirteen years. Sweaty, and naked apart from a neon green Mankini from the Borat film.

I miss all my daft friends, and I love Carl so much. I think I love him mainly because he is a complete idiot!

Me, on stage at Artesian. (Thanks to Emma for the pic!)

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