Why does doing things have to be so hard?

I am hunched over a counter in a small food service kiosk. The kiosk is located in a large city library. The air is cool in the building and for that I am thankful. It is about the only thing I am thankful for at the moment. I am poring over a thick manual which is trying to communicate to me how to program the cash register that sits to my right. Each time I attempt to plunk in the specific series of code it is telling me to I receive a loud droning beeeeeeeeeep; impressing the ever expanding notion that, yes, I’m an idiot and cannot even follow simple instructions properly. Passersby startle from the beeps to which I awkwardly say, “it’s my first day!” with a shrug and a borderline manic laugh bubbling up from my nervous gut. I suspect this terrifies them more than the initial beeping had.

Each time I fail at inputting this or that into the machine a cruel voice in my brain grows a little bit louder. It tells me that I’m too stupid for this. It says that I am not cut out for the pressure in which this new endeavour is hammering down upon us. It drills into me that I do not have the wherewithal to run this thing. To build this thing. To be whom I have to be to get ‘er done.

With each hurdle that pops up, each landmine that blows my progress thus far to smithereens, I wonder how I will get this thing finished. The days in which I have to finish are slipping away. We need to get it up and running. This much I know.

Every ten minutes or so I have a friendly face stop by. Some of these faces I recognise from The Hot Wire, some I’ve seen around town. Some are not familiar but they all wear smiles and come bearing curious questions about hours of operation and opening dates and basically all of the things I have no answers for. I give them a, “We will sell sandwiches” kind of answer which does not seem to satisfy any of them. As lovely as these people are, as humbled as I am that they are interested in our business, I still feel a bubble of crippling anxiety swelling in my throat because as it stands right now I feel as though it will never be complete. I will never have these answers for them.

So I stop with the cash register. I stop with the service calls and the number crunching. I stop with the grocery lists and the budget planning. I stop with all of the things I feel I cannot look at for even one more minute because if I do I will crumble. I will fall apart dead smack in the middle of this library food service kiosk and that would be quite embarrassing. My brain is too tired, too tender, too self-aware to look at these endlessly infuriating numbers right now. So instead I look at the blank chalkboard I have hanging on the wall, waiting to be delved into.

I am no artist but I can wholly understand the appeal. To design and decorate, to think up an idea and lay it out on something that was nothing only moments before. It feels so good, and it relieves the stress of the morning, if only for a short time. This output of creativity gives me the extra confidence I need to carry on with the tough stuff.

There are so many moments of self-doubt in this business. It seems as though nearly every decision we make we can count on some obstacle rearing its head soon after. I am so tired. So run down and burnt out, exhausted from decision making and immediately after worrying if it was the right decision.

Some days, on the bad days, I look at the dark circles under my eyes and I wonder why we do this. Why do we run ourselves ragged? Why do we take the verbal abuse from strange customers? Why do we work so hard for so little pay off? And then, after my small pity trip has wrapped itself up neat and tidy, I step back and look at it all as a whole.

I look at my life. At the accomplishment of this thing; this beautiful, terrible, sleep depriving, exhilarating, outrageous, ever-growing, once unimaginable thing that we have built from absolutely nothing. And I am so proud of it all.

I am hunched over a counter in a small food service kiosk. I am admiring my half-done chalkboard menu. It’s not perfect but it’s us. It’s got charm and a tad of the “weird” that our patrons have come to love about us.  The way I see it, the way I really see this chalk board hanging in front of me is the same way I try to see this business when things get tough. The passion of what we are doing, the love from our people and of our product shines through and draws the eye away from the little flaws peppered throughout.

Sometimes it’s difficult to hush the cruel voice in my head that says I’m not enough. Sometimes I wish I could conjure up confidence the way I conjure up hilarious food puns for our sidewalk sign. Alas, I don’t know how confidence works. Whenever I ask the confident people in my life how they acquired so much of it, they just laugh a hearty chortle and pat me patronisingly on the top of the head. I suppose like all things, my confidence in this business will come with time and experience and until then I will keep my head up, pretend to know what I’m doing, and continue to remind myself to take creative breaks along the way.  38829211_2109328022727775_5393519582700896256_o

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Busy Hands

My life is spinning past me. I am not morose or depressed or even anxiety ridden (at the moment) but I can still see it spiralling past, not slowing, as moments come and go like birds overhead in a clear blue sky.

I am supposed to be writing a Hot Wire Recipe Bible right now. That was the reason I left the sanctuary of my garden this morning, poured myself another strong coffee and turned the computer on. I am supposed to be documenting all of our recipes onto paper then laminating them into a permanent state. I am supposed to be doing all of this because soon we will have more than one employee and they will need a reference sheet to bake from.

This idea should give me joy. I should be elated from the mere thought that it will not be just Jamie and me “doing it all”. And I am. I can nearly feel my body relaxing, my muscles releasing the pent up tension of the past two years.

I shouldn’t get ahead of myself though. The time has not come yet to hire. First we must open this second location, put the time in to get it running smoothly. First we must, once again, run ourselves ragged for the sake of the business.

It sounds horrible when I put it like that. I sound ungrateful and bitter. I sound angry. I know this, but I do not mean it that way. Maybe there are moments of bitterness. Moments where I am hunched over a bathroom sink eyes bloodshot, red-rimmed and exhausted wondering why we got ourselves into this. Maybe there are moments when it is too straining on mine and Jamie’s marriage or moments when I worry we are not enough for our kids. And really, there is no maybe—these moments are all for certain. But these moments are not very different from the bad times before the shop either. I think difficulties arise everywhere, anywhere. And when we boil it down to the basics, the good, the rewards of the now outweigh the difficulties. I don’t need to be a math genius to see that.

The real thing that weighs on me as our life begins to morph into something unrecognisable is how it will never be the same again. Jamie and I will never work together again. Not on the floor at least. For two and a half years we’ve worked side by side, and we are a good team. We are a strong team. We can read each other’s minds when the shop is packed with people and tensions are running high. We ground each other. We possess the same work ethic and drive. Our ambition for the future matches one another. We know how to nudge the other forward when energies are running low.

So now, as our world changes and events begin to slide by us, these ever-moving logs on a rapid current, I wonder how our dynamic will keep up. I wonder how we will keep up.

He will be at the main location, training staff and working lunch hours while I will be at the new cafe, growing it into something we can call our own.

We are bold in our objectives and as we grow our business these goals become bigger, better and more attainable. It is our desire to learn more and be more but I have to wonder, at what cost does this ambition come?

Could it have been enough to leave our little sandwich shop as is and just get by with what we have? I don’t know if you realise but sandwiches aren’t the most lucrative business. Could it have been enough to live paycheck to paycheck, throwing away our desire for more knowledge, bigger dreams—to remain on the “easy” path of which we understand and know?

Jamie often says that from the beginning of his career all of his best chefs would persistently remind him that success comes to those who possess “busy hands”.  If your hands are busy, you have the intention to do. You have the drive to earn your money well. You have integrity in the work you do. You are not looking for a free ride. And maybe it is this thought process which has brought us to where we are. We do have busy hands, and it is our busy hands that have helped create our success. It is our busy hands that have brought growth and change into our lives. And it is our busy hands that will continue to move us towards our goals. And every day we work with these busy hands, we teach our children why a strong work ethic is so important.

Most of the time I am proud of this. I am proud of the role models we are for Lars and Sophie. I am proud of how we came to be where we are. I am proud of the elbow grease and the countless late nights and early mornings logged into our business.

But sometimes I must remind myself that it is okay to stop. It is acceptable to put the recipe book/paperwork/goal charts aside if only for a moment and write a blog post about my fears and hopes and my “right now” life.

Sometimes it is necessary, or even essential, to live in this exact moment and take the time to appreciate how far you’ve come.

Summing Up Someday

 

The sour tang of a Vitamin C pill clashes horrifically with dark roast coffee. My coffee is especially dark roast, if that’s even a thing, because I use exactly twice as much coffee grounds as the recommended serving on the can. This is so I can taste the bitter black liquid as it slithers down into the depths of my soul each morning.

Okay, that was a bit much.

It’s been so long since I wrote on here, I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. It was the stillness of the tree outside my living room window that did it.  The sunlight slipping through its leaves, playing peekaboo with me. Distracting my brain from its usual Sunday morning thoughts.  That’s what drew me in. I was noncommittally toying with the idea of going for a walk when the thought occurred to me. I haven’t wrote, haven’t even looked at the blog, in months.

I am chewing down Vitamin C because Sophie has a killer flu bug. Not actually killer, to clarify. There is no apocalyptic flu bug going around or anything. Not that I know of at least. Nevertheless, I can see it as it envelops our home despite my ravenous cleaning and disinfecting. I am at the point now of attempting to ward it off by pure mental willpower. The way I used to try to move pencils in math class with nothing other than the raw power of my brain. It never worked then but I suspect my brain is more powerful now, as an adult, so now I should be able to accomplish something in this department. Even if it is just that of me catching a slightly less awful strain of the bug.

The truth of it is, I cannot get sick. Not now. Before, like three weeks ago, it would have been passable to come down with a bug. We have our employee Cam who could have covered my shift at the panini factory. We would have been able to deal. In fact we have dealt with this exact scenario because I have a shit immune system and catch basically everything that goes around.

I can’t get sick anymore however. The ‘ol immune system is going to have to shape up or…Well, I guess I don’t want it to ship out, there’s no way that having no immune system would be better than have a shitty immune system. So it’s just going to have to shape up. End of story. I will start eating more vegetables and drinking more water. My mom tells me this is the answer to basically all of life’s problems. And she is typically quite knowledgeable on these types of things.

The reason I cannot get sick is because we are opening a second store location. We are aren’t doing this in the typical, hire more staff and be completely prepared for the extra work load, type of way. Oh no. We are opening a second location, continuing to run with three people and hoping to make a boat load of cash in the process. A “boat load” is an overstatement.  A gross overstatement. What we are really hoping to do is secure our business so that eventually we can hire enough staff to run the floor and Jamie and I can actually do owner stuff. Well, that’s an exaggeration too. Honestly guys, who knows what we want out of this thing. I’m pretty sure all of the glutinous flour I work with on a daily basis has begun to clog my braintubes (braintubes is most definitely a thing, despite what spellcheck, and perhaps science, tells me). All I really know is that we need to grow our business so it becomes something of value. Yeah, yeah, it is sentimentally valuable right now, but sentimentality ‘aint shit when thinking about the future. But I guess it sort of is in the grand scheme of things….But not in this scenario. Just stay with me here guys.

Still there? Awesome.

When Jamie and I dream of someday we are sitting in a mansion that we have built with our franchised panini money, sipping cocktails while I write my memoirs and he creates miniature models of specific points in history which he will display in his football field sized miniatures museum he constructed after selling the restaurant. We laugh and laugh at how difficult life used to be with memories that are hazy because if we were to really reminisce about the trials of yesteryear we would be in a constant state of manic depression.

Sometimes we dream that we build a blimp hotel and travel around the world at a brisk 60 mph while whisking our patrons off to their various destinations in aviation heaven.

Most times, however, we simply dream about simplicity. About having the ability to go on vacation with our kids without having to worry about a store to look after. We dream about taking the day off work to volunteer on a school field trip. We dream about lying in bed all day, worrying of nothing. Nothing at all.

Alas, we tried this life once, and dreamt of the life we are currently living. Which is exactly how we arrived here. So clearly we are physically unable to be happy with anything (unless it involves owning a blimp hotel). We are obsessed with the idea that there is something else out there for us to achieve. Something amazing to explore around the next bend. Perhaps, we will never learn.

I have come to the conclusion that the real key to living happy is to somehow merge these two fantasises. And this, my friends, is the meaning of life. Boom. You’re welcome. And we are trying to achieve it. The kids have begun to help us at the shop. We show them the ropes and so far, they swing from them joyously. Lars is great with customers and talks their ear off while Sophie is happy to help in the baking department when given the chance. I took them to see the new café yesterday and they both immediately began to make plans of how they would be involved in this new place.

So maybe our life is not the typical one of a growing family. Maybe we are a bit more complicated. Maybe a bit unconventional. At times I worry about the kids and I wonder if they would be happier if given a different life. I wonder if they are okay. Then I look at them. Like, really study them. They then look at me like I’m a crazy person but quickly sluff it off because I am forever doing strange things like this.

I see Sophie and her artwork. The artwork that she has honed in and made her own over hours of drawing weird and wonderful pictures from the two seater table of a sandwich shop. And I see Lars and his genuine and lovely and kind personality. His empathy and outgoing nature towards any other human being continues to astound me.

I will write little blurbs on this blog when the muse takes me and Jamie will continue to craft miniature models from the paint speckled table in our living room while we binge watch bad Netflix originals. We will take mini vacations to the mountains when the stars have aligned and we find ourselves with two consecutive days off work. We will enjoy backyard bbq’s and watch as the kids swim in the pool and scream out in unabashed joy when the water is too cold to bear. We will find joy in the time spent together, even when together is at the shop showing our children how to talk to customers and make bundt cakes.

I see the pride the kids have in our little sandwich shop when they tell perfect strangers about The Hot Wire Panini and they call it “their shop”, “their restaurant” and I realise that maybe our life isn’t cookie cutter perfect but it is our perfect. Our right now perfect. And just like all things, it will evolve and grow with us, and that will be perfect too.

 

 

Taking Back Control

We are fastened to one another by fraying knots.

Mottled steel. I want to rid myself of you.

Shrug you off like a winter jacket on the first day of spring.

Breathe relief into the heavy air as I feel you slide away from me.

I don’t want you to be happy, I don’t think you deserve it.

But is there even a you to begin with? Are you sentient? Are you real?

Because you are not true. I know that much.

I know that you can make me feel unworthy and small.

I know that you have the power to change me.

Shift and model me into whatever your will suggests.

I know that this control you have over me is no one’s fault but my own.

I know that life would be much cleaner, much healthier without you.

You whisper insecurities in my ear then shout them to the world.

You tell me it’s not enough. Nothing I do is enough.

I reach for happiness and feel my fingertips graze atop joy’s ruffled edges. Just as quickly gone. You’ve pulled me away, back to reality. Back to misanthropy. You stunt my happiness in ways you’ll never care to know.

You will take and take and take until I am a husk.

An empty shell awaiting orders from its owner.

Because eventually you will own me. My person, my spirit, my life.

You are a festering sore upon my back. You cultivate deeper into me with each passing day. Each passing hour.

This is why I must bid you farewell dear ego. For it is no one’s fault but my own. These deep seated cries of sorrow you sow.

I cast you away from my soul, as I have so many times before.

No longer will I allow you to live at the forefront my will.

No longer will I let you inside my common sense or rational thoughts.

I will leave you stranded and wondering what happened.

Alone and desolate.

Bereft.

But how long will it last?

When the Word-Floors Collapse

A pressure that is dainty but daunting wiggles in through my ear disguised as hopes and dreams of a rewarding future.

I wish I could tell you why I am so frightened of it.

I wish I could explain why I am terrified of the words that pour out of me like syrup globs over big round pancakes. The way they fall out of my brain and into sentences and paragraphs and stories.

Because the prospect of them dropping into the meaningless places, the void, frightens me the way the fox frightens the chickadee.

The idea that these floors upon floors of connected words will end up meaning nothing. That the anecdotes are flat and the meanings meaningless leaves a pinprick hole in some subterranean part of me. I can feel it expanding. I can feel it growing.

And the words are plummeting into this black hole now. Lost to the bottomless anxiety of the deepest clefts.

So I put fear around it all.

It sort of encapsulates my person like a blanket tossed upon the shoulders of a nearly drowned woman.

The terror shrouds me.

But I manage to push it down or pull it out or maybe I just banish it away to a nowhere place just long enough to rid the dark self-doubt from my mind.

Then I begin to regurgitate the words once more.

I remind myself that I am not my fear. I am not my insecurities. The words are terrifying as they fall out me, but they are also my liberator.

Alive

I am desperate. Desperate for the time and energy to be the person I know I can be if only I could muster the effort to build and grow her properly. I am exhausted. Not tired. Exhausted. Bushed from the stress that hovers over my head like undetectable clouds which rain droplets of bad news upon my exposed skin. Popping on impact they startle me into weary submission.

We as humans have this uncanny aptitude to blame others for our misfortunes. If we cannot blame our fellow human we will blame the universe. If not the universe, we blame God or Satan or the neighbour’s dog, Spot. We seem to be programmed to repel blame from ourselves, hurdling it onto one another like grenades of misery. If there is no one left to blame we simply throw our heads to the heavens and scream with self-indulgent despair, “Why Me?! Why is my life the worst?” And when we receive no answer we blame the heavens for not responding to our pleas.

But if anything, I am introspective. Active in the knowledge that I have free will. I am absorbed in the lifeblood of the mundane, the everyday, the commonplace. I can see the prospect of tomorrow and how I must build on today to get to that place. I am willing to work for growth. I am freedom. Absolute uninhibited freedom. Freedom to grow. Freedom to be. Freedom to become anything despite the weariness that clings to back. Despite the setback and the obstacles. I am choice. And when I grow tired, distraught with the holdups that tarnish all hope for future days I will remind myself. I am alive.

Strange Truths

They tell me I should find contentment. Be happy to live a life filled with pleasures of the everyday. They say that quietude is the path to happiness. Satisfaction, the road to success.

The say that those who are too busy driving for greatness miss out on the small wonders of life. The uninhibited love of a child. The way fleecy clouds upon a piercing blue sky move like waves over the ocean. An unexpected kiss. A moment in time which can never be recreated. And from what I’ve learnt while on this planet, I can see that they are in all livelihood, correct.

Why then do I yearn for more?

Why does the sound of this keyboard clacking not mollify my need to write but instead tease me into tugging out something more? Something greater. Something superior. Something permanent which I have yet to find. How come I have a constant grating on my soul that whispers sweet somethings about moving forward and making goals and always, always reaching a bit further than I did before?

I am Mother, wife, writer, and business owner (at least this is how my Instagram profile identifies me) and yet I still want more. And because I dream of this elusive “more” this indefinable objective of striving for something greater, does it make me less than?

They tell me I should live a gratified life, surrounding myself with the day-to-day beauties which make me happy. They tell me that our existence is short and precious and should be savored by the minute. They tell me that it is the journey that counts, the small things, the infinitesimal which makes up the whole.

As I listen to them, read their words and mull it all over in my brain I still have dreams of grandeur flit through my mind’s eye like fireflies at a camp-out. If we are being honest here, which I believe we are, I long for these words to be lit up in lights. Perhaps I still have more to learn about life. Maybe the youthful pipedreams of the past have not yet withered away into reality. What if I am never really relaxed, but still manage to seek happiness throughout this life anyways? Is it possible to be happy while striving for excellence?

Is it possible to be content while still dreaming of future days?

Glass Surface

Some days my life feels like a vast ocean.

Stretching far across a skyline

That seems unending. Daunting.

Tasks pile up. Unread books

Upon a dusty shelf.

Waiting for someone to pick them up.

Waiting for someone to sort it all out for me.

And somedays it all appears to be too much.

The bulk of obligation buckles my knees.

Wobbles my feet.

I wonder somedays if I can lasso it

Into regulation.

Can I compact the monthly, weekly, daily duties

So they become attainable?

Tie them into a routine?

Neat and tidy.

While floating over this sea of responsibility

Moons passing. Water droplets detach

In skyward propulsion.

And the anxiety melts away,

Fat in a red-hot pan.

Starlight glimmers off the tasks

I once obsessed about.

Now casting perfect shadows, lengthy as the threats

Of incompletion which worried me moments before.

Handsome. Disordered. Ruffled chaos. Beautiful disaray.

Bliss peeking through slats of agitation.

Fence posts of contentment erected amid

Goals for future days.

And it occurs to me that most days,

This life-ocean seems vast and unnerving.

But it also builds dreams upon its glass surface.

Dogs are people too!

 

 

Something a little different for you today…Well, only because it is simply too funny not to share with my bloggy friends.

Sophie (my 7 year old daughter) was asked at school to draw a picture of the kindest person she knows. She drew a picture of our dog. If you look closely though you can find me in the background screaming because the kindest person Sophie knows has shit on the floor again and is attracting the flies.

Her attention to detail is as uncanny as her ability to accurately depict my exact facial expression when discovering such an event has occurred.

And is it a problem that the kindest person my kid can think of is a dog…who regularly poops the floor?

 

Image may contain: drawing

 

 

If

If I were inspiration I’d nestle myself into a bed of pebbles. One glowing dark stone among rudimentary grey rock. I’d be a scent of aromatic bloom in a city of skyscrapers. A hint of green haze upon bare branches during the dreary melt of an upcoming spring.

If I were inspiration I would be a kind smile in a sea of indifferent faces. An outgoing act of silliness. A sprig of laughter at the most inopportune time.  Pure and blatant joy showered earthward for no reason other than to spread happiness to the humans below.

If I were inspiration, I would scatter myself discreetly in the places only the interested would notice. A purple flower reaching heavenward flanked by the cold stone of two soaring buildings. A bug on a streetlamp at midnight, casting obscurities upon the sidewalk below.

If I were inspiration, the world and all of its weird magic would be at my fingertips. And I wonder if sometimes it is.

 

Head Sloths Slowin’ Me Down

The writing stinks today.

Like a musty towel

Left too long

In the machine,

The smell

Sticking to everything

It touches.

Grey fog hugs my brain.

Fondly fondling

Recollections

Like play things.

Altering and misshaping

Past memories

Taking away all

Semblance of

Lucidity.

Head Sloths,

Lazily hang from my

Prefrontal cortex.

Resulting,

In the

Inability to care

About the production

Of new words

Becomes me.

Their giant claws

Tickle soft tissue.

Prod at the fatty

Flesh of my thoughts.

Elbow away

Inspiration.

Jabbing the muse

To distant future days.

Removing the possibility

To write well

Today.

And the words.

The words

Either

Slip away, to that

Place where

Dark clouds never

Dissipate. Unable to

Create.

Or,

The words creep out of me

Smelling cheap and decayed.

The writing stinks today.

 

Food Sharing

I can already tell that this will not be my week for gains in literary esteem. It literally took me ten minutes to write that first sentence. Yes THAT first sentence. So instead I’m going to use up my one hundred words to tell you about a little project we have going on at the shop right now.

We were inspired by a similar program created by a coffee shop out of Halifax. It is where patrons can go into the shop and purchase food tickets/tokens for those in need.

For example at The Hot Wire a coffee and a baked good ticket costs 3 dollars and a bowl of soup and a side costs 6 dollars. People who want to reach out to help those looking for a warm meal in the community can come into The Hot Wire and purchase these tickets then distribute them to any person who may need a warm meal. They may be  purchased and then dropped off at local shelters or social organisations and in turn the people wielding Hot Wire tickets may come in to redeem them at any time during regular business hours. There are no prerequisites or requirements to redeeming a ticket. Help should never be laced with judgement or suspicion. Sometimes appearance alone cannot determine the prosperity of someone.

It is easy to forget that difficult times can fall on anyone. Jamie and I are no strangers to money-stress and the constant looming fear of financial insecurity. Starting a business with virtually no money or resources was perhaps not the wisest idea when we embarked on this journey, but it was our determination and drive which pushed us forward anyways. Since then there is no doubt that the thought of near failure, one catastrophic bout of botchery, could land us in a similar position. Some months we fall over the finish line hanging on by threads and gossamers. There are periods where we do well and can catch up but then the slow months come and it is all we can do to hang on until the storm has passed. For some, the storm lasts too long and they are not able to recover from it.

We may not have loads of disposable cash at this time but we do have a means to help those in need. Food Sharing is such a simple idea. As a business our costs are still being met, we are simply providing the platter for which the food will be shared over. We are the middle man of the operation, the thing that gives the subtle nudge to those who have been thinking of helping out but don’t know how to proceed forward.

If you or someone you know owns a café, eatery, hell five star restaurant, I strongly urge you to look into similar programs. It is so simple to put in place and the results could mean everything to someone who is looking for a warm meal to fill their belly.

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Aflame At Both Ends

The words have been sticky lately. Have you noticed? I haven’t been proficient in keeping up with my 100 words a day. The lack of words, the lack of creativity is causing a blockage. A brain blockage. It is the business which causes this thought constipation. The business. The thing is its own entity in our meager little lives. So large in its importance it has formed biospheres around itself. It is now our life support.

I believe the business is on some sort of brink. It feels as though there has been a slight build of expectation within it for some time now. Soon, it will explode into popularity. Well, hopefully. There is a palpable anticipatory feel to the thing as of late. This detonation of our family-run restaurant has not been without blood, sweat and tears however. It is not a simple miracle which has unfolded upon us; laying out a treasure trove of opportunity. No there has been toil.  Donkeywork and drudgery. Wedges squeezed between our loved ones over lack of time and attendance. Tears spilt over desperation. A constant fear that failure, some catastrophic blunder that will entomb us. This fear is always lingering. Tickling our consciousness as we imagine future days. Reminding us that there is no rest for the weary in the entrepreneur’s life.  Telling and retelling the tales of hardship that comes along with self employment.

Yet despite all of this anxiety up against our backs, there is still hope. An optimistic sentiment, carried close by waves of determination and willpower alone. It is always there, though sometimes only a faint whisper behind the realities of owning and operating a local business in this time of box stores and free delivery with orders over ten dollars.

So yes, the words have been sticky as a result. They cling to the side of my tongue each morning as I attempt to spit them onto a blank page. They dangle from my subconscious at the most inopportune times, retracting and fastening securely to some inoperable place once the opportunity to expel them presents itself.

This is not to say my love affair with these words each morning is through. At this point, the writing cannot be touched. It has become too important, too essential to sanity. It has become an anchor that steadies against high tide. So despite the sentences sticking to that somewhere place I cannot seem to reach, I will keep on pulling them out piece by piece. Fragments of thoughts and dreams waylaid to this screen perhaps one day—when time and creativity is once again on my side—to be made whole again.

The You’s of Yesterday and Tomorrow

Once upon a lifetime, you were never tired. Minutes passed by like molasses through a sieve; long lasting and bittersweet.  You didn’t know that one day the easiness, the jovial adventures of youth would flit away like tissue paper pieces caught in a windstorm. Altering and shifting ever so slightly so you wouldn’t detect the change until years later. You didn’t know that life was so delicate. So defining.

You were wet cheeked and waiting for trouble. You had faith. Not confidence, more of a conviction for the unthoughtful standards which surrounded you.

You were beautiful. Fresh faced, energetic—never dog-tired and dragging your body from A to B as you do now. You were filled with lifeblood. You exuded it through tiny pores upon your glistening skin.

You were oh so positive. Dappled envy and the want for material goods had not yet sullied your go-getter attitude. You bled eagerness.

You look back on these days not with bitterness but an unbidden appreciation.

Because despite how able and animated you once were, you decide as you sit and sip coffee this early morning that you wouldn’t trade it back. You quite enjoy the person who writes these words today. You now have the confidence to take this realisation and lay it out, spread it along the various nooks and crannies of your life, let all the past and future you’s see it.

Life is defining, and the actions of the past have prepared you, primed your inner and outer self to be melded and shaped into a future person. Days, years, lifetimes past have initiated the process and it is your job to continue the construction until there is nothing left to construct.

The Voices

There are strange voices in my house. My brain registers this immediately. Men’s voices, of low register but not my husband’s. My heart does not so much thud against the rib cage but wedge itself there. It is pumping wildly while my brain tries to work out why I am hearing these non-husband voices in my home at 4 o’clock in the morning. They do not say words. At least I do not decipher words coming out of them. It is a string of sound carried by imperceptible winches and cranes throughout the hallway and into my eardrums. The meanings are murky. Dangerous simply because I do not understand them.

I am immobilised for what seems like minutes but surely is mere milliseconds before I hear the thing that makes me move without thought. Lars’ voice rings out amidst them. A falsetto, nimble and piercing, summoning me like magnetised current.

I am desperately pulling myself out of that place where waking meets sleep. I am dragging my soggy conscience up from an ocean of dreams and wringing it out upon reality. I am willing myself to be present because I do not know what will greet me once I get to the voices.

“What is going on? What?” I mutter as I round the corner out of my bedroom and into the fringe.

“Ma’am.” Says the police officer. “Don’t be alarmed.” There are three of them plus my 9 year old son huddled in the small landing area of my home’s front doorway. “Your son called 911 tonight.” Lars is microscopic compared to their large uniform clad bodies. He is a tadpole among giants.

“Oh my God what happened?” It sounds so stupid as it passes over my lips and into the moment. Is that all you can say Lindsay? Is that all you can come up with? I am directing the question at Lars. I move towards him, touch his face, his hair, hold him in front of me like a shield to ward off the angst which has set up residence in my chest and abdomen.

“Sophie heard a voice downstairs. We called for you and Dad but when you didn’t come we got scared so I called the cops.” My son is saying. His voice is strong in this moment, he is sure and confident in a way that I’ve never seen in him before.  He sees that I am upset. “Mom, we were yelling for you. You didn’t answer. I didn’t know what else to do.” He does not cry. This is strange for Lars. Tears tend to be his first resort in high pressure situations such as finding oneself in tight quarters with three police officers and having to explain the beckoning of their assistance in the wee hours of the morning.

I look at the officer closest to me without acknowledging what Lars has said. “I’m so sorry to have wasted your time.” Embarrassment tears through me. I know the kind of offence it is to make a false 911 call.  “I have no idea why I didn’t hear them calling for me. Oh my gosh I’m just so sorry this happened.” I feel as though I should be reprimanded for this situation although I cannot quite put my finger on why.

“Don’t apologise. At least you know your son knows what to do in an emergency.” Says the officer. He smiles and the anxiety, the bombshell of having a sound sleep interjected upon so curtly, begins to sputter away like ice thrown on a bed of coals.

The officers and I go through the usual information that you must go through when having police called to your home under false pretences. Then they tell us to get some sleep and are on their way. They are kind and understanding. They have made us feel at ease in this uneasy situation.

I tuck in Lars and Sophie (who had no qualms retelling the events leading up to the infamous call to our police officer guests, but now is woefully exhausted as I kiss her on the forehead.) I ease through the 911 phone call talk. The same talk I imagine many parent folk have had with their littles. I try not to sound menacing. I tightrope walk between explaining that this number is for emergency only but to always call it if it is indeed an emergency. I don’t know if they fully get it and all I can do is hope they understand the severity of the situation.

They fall asleep quickly as children do. The excitement does not seem to disturb them as it does me and the even rise and fall of their breathing soon twirls up into the air above their beds. I take a good look around the basement where they sleep because I cannot shake free from my mind the “voices” Sophie heard that initiated this debacle. However, my search comes up clear, thank friggen God.

Strong black coffee now drips at flat intervals into the craft and I mull over what has just happened. Sleep will not come to me this early morning. Right now it feels as though sleep will never come to me again. Why didn’t I wake up to their calls for me? Why was I so ashamed over this situation I had no control over? Was it a dream which had awakened Sophie so abruptly? And was it truly so terrifying to warrant a call to the police?

Shadows reach out to me from lamplight crescents across the wall. The moonlight ambience, the stillness of others sleep makes the state of affairs all the more strange and unnerving. I want to pick through the events, dissect them to discover their hidden layers. I want to uproot what has just happened. Lay it out for future clarification.

But now, as I tap the keys of this familiar keyboard I come up blank on all accounts. An obscure film has covered over all logical reasoning and it becomes a “just is” event. Perhaps in the surety of sunrise, light might be shed on the unusual happenings of this early morning wake up call. Until then, it remains as strange as the voices which woke me from my sleep.

 

Bad Poetry

How many bad poems does it take to craft the one?

The one that will stick to you. Stick to your reader,

Sweet and aromatic like the air of a bakery

Early in the morning.

How many bad poems must bleed

From the fingertips of those who yearn to write romantically?

Those who crave to produce one piece of the verse

Which will evolve into something universal; carried over millennia

Brisk and untouchable on the invisible airstreams of literary fervour.

Ejected thoughts sinking skyward.

How many lines must be toiled over?

Ripped from the mind. Scoured at as though it were a dirty dish

That had been left to scab. Removing the crust. Picking away the bad.

Bad poetry is everywhere.

These pages are filled with it. Brimming and busting at the seams

Unsuccessful imagery.

Flat blows of ornamental language.

Bad poetry is the way we text and speak

The way we move through society. Bad poetry is universal and always.

How many bad poems does it take to craft the one? And who chooses which is which anyways?

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Do & Be

I will silence in the room. Perhaps, if I could just quiet the hum of this computer, the click-clack of keys upon this keyboard I could summon the sentences up and out of me. Still the words refuse to ring out in their usual sing song way. I look around the room at a collection of framed family photos, my favourite hardbacks lining a shadowy red pony wall, the light from a floor lamp casting peculiar shapes upon an otherwise dark ceiling.

I see all of these wondrous effects of the everyday and the ideas continue to escape me. They flit past my cognisant mind like campfire crickets escaping mason jar capture. They elude any chance of being taken up. Dodging the ultimate fortune of being turned inside out. Pulled apart for further experimentation. Today they slip away. I could try to ring out a few more words. Push them sloppily together like puzzle pieces which have never been meant to meet. I could sit in this spectral room waiting for the muse to seep in. The offering of water to quench thirsty earth. I could sit here in this hard backed wooden chair, back and brain aching from immobility.

Or, I could move. Stretch. Oil the muscles which have rusted from eons of sitting still. Walk off the dust that currently lines the creative corners of my mind. Do and be.

Sometimes, when the ideas do not come no amount of silence can summon them.

something new

Usually staring at this blank page frustrates me. The white glare bites into my retinas and reminds me that I still have so much to do, so much to learn. So much to write. It prompts me to call to mind everything that I so desperately long for in this life but that right now seems too far away. Like island dots upon a water-logged horizon.

Not this morning though. This morning it feels good to have a blank page in front of me. Invisible eddies of possibility twirl into my brain and out through these fingers. The possibility motivates me. Moves me to find time, write more, seek limbs and jump. Freefall into something untried and terrifying.

This blank screen reminds me that the more I write the easier it becomes to fill up the hollow spaces. To remove the glare that tries to stop me with its distracting radiance. The words feed each other, they gain sustenance with each thought, each idea that unfolds upon this screen.

 

 

Now, it seems,

I am indebted to this screen.

There is a time bomb inside

Of me.

Long-sufferingly,

Waiting to KA-BLOOOEY!

I am a fiend

For the literary.

Unseen and weary

Unable to glean

What need be

From my brain activity.

Although agreeing

To keep positivity

Close

Unwavering.

Trying to seek out

The answers

Inwardly.

Then expelling them

Unceremoniously

To this screen.

How it should be.

 

It has been a few days since I’ve written. The other responsibilities of life and work have usurped my brain and time was not on my side. It seems to me now, after a break like this, it takes a while to warm up my brain. Like a good stretch sesh before a run, I must work out the kinks of inactivity.

Right now, looking at the glowing white screen simply gives me good feelings. I am here. I am writing. Thoughts flow over this page like brown and orange fallen leaves in autumn. Allowing regrowth. And tomorrow something new.

post birthday brain drain followed by an insanely busy weekend

My brain is foggy this morning from too many birthday beers the night before. A to-do list hangs in the corner of my mind. Out of reach. The words and their meanings blurred from the remaining wisps of yesterday’s joviality. I’m not ready to come back to reality.

But like most necessary things, reality forces its way inside. Jostling the recent past’s fun and games out of my head as though it was cattle being steered away from danger by melodic humanoid voices. And once again I find myself readying for new adventures.

This weekend The Hot Wire has been invited to the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo. We participated last year and it was a blast. Although last year we had twice the help. This year challenges have arose because there is never simplicity when it comes to the life of restauranteering. But like everything else, we have divided our tasks and conquered accordingly. Hopefully.

It doesn’t help that my head feels like ten thousand dish pit rags have been shoved in through the ear canals and must remain to stew there forevermore, but alas, that is the price I pay for birthday shenanigans.

I don’t want to stop writing this morning. The moment I stop is the moment I must begin the list. The list I still cannot seem to focus on and nail down to a concrete plan of action. The moment I stop pounding keys is the moment that it all becomes the now, the, I’ve got to get shit done right now. The moment I stop letting the words fall onto the page is the moment I must stop slurping down coffee in a warm living room and traverse my way out into the cold and snow.

I suspect it will be like most things and I will be dreading the next 48 hours for as long as possible. But as they happen, as they pass by me like a fast-action replay it will not seem menacing at all. The list will get done, the prepping and packing will commence, the set up will fly by, the people will eat and we will survive. And likely, have a whole lot of fun while doing it all.

Because if we aren’t enjoying even the challenging things, what are we doing anyways?

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Thirty Two Years

It’s official! I have lived for thirty two years. I have had thirty two years worth of adventures. Thirty two years of learning and growing. How little time it feels like when placed up against the worldwide scope of things. Yet it simultaneously is lifespans and magnificent. I am a world wrapped up into thirty two years of memory, hope for the future, and a simple beautiful existence. And I am in awe to see what the next thirty two years has in store.

I woke up this morning thinking that I would take the morning off writing. I would laze in the living room sipping coffee and surfing Facebook. I would luxuriate and not worry over the realm of words which long to break free from my brain.  I would revel in the nothingness of the morning. The nothing things.

But as it is, the mind does not work as such. After having written (nearly) every morning for almost two months now it seems that I cannot simply turn it off. The words sneak into my fingers and leak outwards like ink from a wizened pen.

This morning as I tried to relax I discovered that the most comforting thing of all is to allow the sentences to form, the ideas to arrange themselves and then simply freefall down the literary rabbit hole.

Little did I know that these past few months have provided me with the greatest birthday gift of all; a renewed and uninhibited love for creating. What a wonderful gift to give oneself.

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