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the great escapism

all writers live somewhat vicariously through their writing. it's an easy thing to fall into. after all, when you're writing, you can perfectly script each part of the lives you are constructing, each facet of their experience and you can give it meaning. most people i know are pretty far from achieving that in their everyday life. most people i know spend a lot of time obsessing over parts of their lives that they want to change, but can't figure out how to change. i struggle with road blocks in writing, too, but the difference is that i know i can figure them out. i'm never so sure when it comes to life off the page. however, even if you want to dedicate as much of yourself to writing as possible, there must come a point where you have too much of a good thing. so exactly when does creativity become pathological?

i have substantial relationships with the people whose lives i've created. more substantial, for instance, than my relationships with people i talk to every day. (for all concerned, this is probably a good thing.) i won't even bother asking if that's "normal", because that's always been a term that annoyed me to no end, with its implication that it was somehow desirable to be in a state where one has achieved a similarity with the largest number of people. but i will ask if it is healthy, even from an artistic standpoint. after all, how am i going to be able to write meaningful things about real people if most of the people in my life are imaginary?

in defense of this sort of behaviour, i would like to point out that 1. i am still very conscious of the fact that the people who occupy my life are not real, as opposed to some of the people i see wandering around who have crossed that important boundary and; 2. i firmly believe that if you think about characters as having a life beyond the events written about in the stories they populate, it becomes a lot easier to write them. after all, you know what's motivating them, even if the reader doesn't (and will never find out).

my main concern, however, is not so much that these fits of introverted bliss will retard my future ability to write cogently and realistically, but with the havoc they might wreak on the state of the rest of my life. after all, if i'm spending all of my time with people who don't exist, doesn't it point to some problems dealing with the things in my life that do exist? any psychologist would probably tell you that it does. then again, psychologists exist to make people believe that they're not handling the real world very well and to listen to you when you get to the point where you believe them.

fact is, the time that i spend thinking about writing is more real to me than the staff meetings i have to attend on a regular basis with flesh and blood people, more meaningful than eighty percent of the conversations i have every day and more lasting than most of the incidental relationships i have in my life. most of the people i know are so obsessed with what they do for a living that it manages to permeate every aspect of every conversation they carry on. and when they're done talking, they fall asleep and dream about it. the ironic thing is that most of what they tell me is about how much they hate where they are. so if i spend more time thinking about my imaginary friends and less time thinking about the sad details that drive everyone else crazy, i think my outlook is pretty healthy.

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jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

eat the pain away?

nearly twenty years ago, an emergency room doctor took a look at the crushing muscle tension i was experiencing [they were clenched enough that a doctor at my regular clinic couldn't get a reflex reaction on my left side and thought i might be having a stroke] and told me she believed that i had fibromyalgia. a couple of weeks later, i went to see a family doctor that a coworker had recommended to me. when i told him what the other doctor had said, he snapped that i was being ridiculous, because, if i'd had fibromyalgia, "i wouldn't be able to move". after i moved to toronto, i got a new family doctor and told her what the other doctors had said. she said that she couldn't be sure, but it was better just to deal with any symptoms i had one at a time. then i came back to montreal and got a new family doctor, who didn't really buy into the whole idea of fibromyalgia and said there was no way to do any definitive test anyway. that doctor passed away, and my …

long suffering

i've been meaning to write this post for a while, but, every time i get started, something happens that makes me rethink portions of it, to add or subtract or consider a different way of looking at things. the post was originally going to be my take on a #metoo statement, but i ended up making that post on my personal facebook page. [it's not that i don't love you all, but there are a few things i'm not comfortable putting in the entirely public sphere.] but beyond joining the #metoo juggernaut, i wanted to write something about the wave of sexual assault revelations that continues to swell over the north american media landscape that wasn't about me. then i realised that that was a little more complicated than just writing "so, lotta sex rapes happenin' these days, ain't there?" or whatever it was that i was going to say.

so i tried writing something about just a part of it: the media coverage or the entertainment industry or the politicians or …