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[18 Jul 2009|01:21am]
I will be kinder to my body and my soul.

Starting right now.
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[17 Jul 2009|01:16am]
I don't want to write a story today; I just want to say that I don't think that Martyrs is misogynistic. I think it is bloated with pseudo-existentialism (or maybe even real existentialism, since it is, after all, a horror film, and thus deals with life by default because it deals with death) and the film is a touch boring, but I think that to call it misogynistic is ignorant. I'm all for different interpretations, but sometimes people miss the point. The film works as anti-gorenography (most of which is misogynistic) so I think a recount is in order.

That's all I will say for now.
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On a temporal existence, or a birthday [03 Jun 2009|11:26pm]
It will be my birthday soon.

Here is what I did today: woke up early, went to work, came home from work eight hours later, went out for dinner, went out for ice cream, went to the bookstore, didn't purchase anything, came home, watched Angel. It all sounds good and exciting, but so too does Martyrs until you've seen it.

I think I am bored.

Here's how we change: every day, our skin stretches and tightens over our skeletons; our muscles flex and relax; we use up a little bit more of ourselves each day.

And they say that every seven years we are new, but that isn't true. Our bodies remember. Our lives are written in the wrinkles in the skin, in the cracks in our teeth, in the folds of our hands and in between the spaces between each other. We grow distance like we grew limbs; like we grew sarcasm as teenagers and compassion as adults. And sometimes we move closer without touching: the cyberprophylactic keeps us from contact while we keep in contact.

When I am with you, I am alone. When I am alone, I am with you.

We're always watching watching watching.

I bought tickets to Ani DiFranco the other day. Well, I didn't buy them in terms of actually spending money - I requested and received. But nevermind the particulars, that's not what's at stake here. What's at stake is my future, and yours, because our past is up for renewal.

And I wonder: how many of us are there? Who is searching for their future through their past? Who's searching for selfhood through the guise of others? Who has been othered by themselves? Who is going to the Ani show in the hopes that she will play something old? Something that makes me feel whole again, makes me feel new again?

So there you are, I am a fraud. 27 at a dead-end job. And I live in a past that didn't exist, and I live for a future I can't predict. Because when is there a future when you're searching for yourself like a book you misplaced?

Let me tell you about living in the moment. Moments build, meaning is cumulative. Sure, who wants meaning? What is meaning?

I've spent a long time working on meaning, and here's what I think: it doesn't exist. We construct likenesses, we fabricate ourselves and our opposites, we assign meaning but meaning is false.

But nevermind that, let's get back to momentary existence. I am in a relationship. I have been in this relationship for nearly nine years. But it's not a nearly-nine-year-long relationship. We waited out the time together; waded through our early-mid-and-late twenties as indie-pendent individuals but this does not constitute a relationship. Just because neither of you decides to leave each other does not mean you're together. And anyway, what if you leave yourself?

But I teach writing, and so let's include the antithesis. Every moment counts. It is a relationship, as much as you and I engage in a relationship. Let's reconstitute the allied whispers, the inside jokes and the stares. Let's count the distance between each other.

So then I am involved with the world, and the world is involved with me. And I can't escape my past, nor can I become my past. I can reclaim it as a part of me; that relationship with myself that is separated not by distance but by time.

And what is time anyway but a way of marking the years? A way to account for the wrinkles and the cracks and the spaces between us. The spaces between us and ourselves.
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Snow and School [01 Apr 2009|02:18pm]
It is still snowing. I am sick of it. When will it end?!
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[08 Mar 2009|03:32pm]
It has come to my attention that, while I enjoy attention, I do not enjoy harming my body in any way. My idea of fun is good and clean - I don't enjoy drinking and dancing; I just want to dance.

I don't feel physically awful after I drink, but that isn't the point - I feel guilty that I have harmed my body.

So I have made a decision - I am not going to do that sort of thing anymore.

It isn't that I don't like having friends or having a good time, but those kind of times are no good to me anymore. So I will find fun elsewhere: in a book, or a film, or a videogame. With other people, or by myself. Through cooking a healthy dinner, and then eating it with good friends. Through biking in the summer and skiing in the winter; through walks in the forest followed by apocalyptic horror films.

It isn't that I am boring. I have to wonder, though - are you boring? If you can't find solace within yourself - or at least make a valid attempt to search for it - then what is the point?
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Angry...again. [21 Feb 2009|12:41am]
I feel utterly taken advantage of. It isn't enough that I'm barely caught up with my work, have two midterms and one major essay due. It isn't enough that I help out. I have to physically DO the work, too.

It's no wonder I spend my Friday nights home alone, watching television instead of doing anything productive. It's overwhelming. I'm overwhelmed. And I understand schoolwork and other work, I really do. But here's a novel idea - you do yours and I'll do mine.

I don't want presents. I don't want money. I want to not have to do someone else's work for them. It's not fair, and it makes me really angry.

And angry at myself, for just agreeing to it. And then feeling so furious that I don't get my own work done and spend the night brooding.

The worst bit is that I'm too overwhelmed to even enjoy this anger and use it. Passive anger. This must be the new horrible.
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A new post [28 Dec 2008|04:38pm]
Hello all, and happy holidays!

It has been too long since I last wrote, and so I am writing now. I have started on my new year's resolutions early: I resolve to write more and think about the consequences of this less. Also, I intend to begin stretching twice a day.

I woke up early this morning to go to the Pancake House with my family to finalize a goodbye to my sister's most recent visit to this small town we call home. I dislike the Pancake House. I dislike the pancakes, and the serving staff, and the other patrons. But I woke early and dressed and got into the car and went. Jeremy did not join me, and this is currently a point of contention.

Jeremy had agreed to come with us for breakfast, and after the alarm disturbed my disturbing dream and I turned over to shake him awake, he asked would I mind if he didn't join us. But I did mind, and I said so. He is on holidays, and has slept in every day this week. I have not been on holidays, and have been staying up late to accompany him on this vacation of Buffy episodes, and then waking early to get some work done. Sometimes this work involves retail. Sometimes it involves housecleaning. Other times it involves cooking, and occasionally it involves organizing, paying bills and writing. And so I don't think that waking up at 9 in the morning on a Sunday so that someone else can buy your breakfast is a fantastically imposing sacrifice. As far as sacrifices go, anyway.

So I have spent the day feeling angry, and avoiding calling or going back to the condo (which I cannot bring myself to call home, because it is not home to me. I feel homeless. I'm not sure how much I want to stay there, but I'm not particularly inclined to stay here, with my parents, either. In fact, whenever, I think of the condo, I think of the "vacation" I took to organize it, and buy furniture for it, and how I still haven't been reimbursed financially for these things; further, the office is still Jeremy's office, littered with his ridiculous toys and the storage space has no room in it for me to store things. But I am supposed to be happy with this arrangement because he is not asking for much money from me. Just my soul, apparently. My soul is gone, lost somewhere in the between the would-be storage space and the office that is Jeremy's not mine, and the bedroom that houses his bed and his side tables and has no room for me or my possessions. I am not there. I am absent. Only my body remains, and even that is for menial tasks only: cooking, cleaning, etc.)

Tangent aside, there has been no word from Jeremy, and as I am not surrounded by things to do at my parents' aside from constant eating (to feed my sorrow, no doubt) I am bored. But I don't want to go to the condo. And Jeremy evidently does not want me to go there either, because he has not phoned to inquire as to either my whereabouts or my intentions for dinner.

And Lauren went home today. My Mom and I drove her to the airport, and then wandered around looking at books we wanted to read but likely never will and planes we'd like to escape on but will not have a chance to, because we have "responsibilities" to others here.

But my patience towards these responsibilities is wearing thin, like that sweater I used to think was my signature item of clothing that is now threadbare and unflattering. Maybe I am not my responsibilities; maybe I am more than that. Maybe I am all those things for which I am not responsible: my laugh and my wit and my brain. Perhaps we are not limited to people, maybe we are ideas. We are breath. We are nature and nurture. Perhaps the self is composed, like a poem or a photograph, of ideas made tangible and ambiguous through art.

Perhaps I will go back to the condo. But maybe I won't. Maybe I will stay here forever, always 21 no matter how many years pass, mistress to words that are uttered and master of those that go unsaid.
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[06 Oct 2008|03:03am]
This is not my place.

This is his place. One day it will be our place.

I exist in this place, and I think about the ways in which space is constituted. I work here, eat here, play here, poop here. I have found space in this place that is not mine, but someone else coexists in it. There is another body in my space. Thus the place is not mine alone. My place is no place.

No place therefore refers to the space I inhabit within a place. This place is no place.

There is no place like home.
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[30 Sep 2008|10:01pm]
Hello, and welcome to update.

I am currently fighting off an attack of the angry sort. I feel stupid and fed up. I am very tired of being put in my place. I feel that a particular person is threatening my career through their inane and unwelcome comments, and I don't know how to stop it.

I am up to my ears in work, and I don't care about this festival anymore. And that's really sad, because this is my festival. I started it. I conceived of it. I did all the practical work. And until this year, I paid for it out of my own pocket.

I am too angry to write. I am too angry to do anything.
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[16 Mar 2008|09:48pm]
So much work to do, so little time.

I have no idea how I am going to get through the next three weeks, nevermind maintain my grades. But I am going to do it, and I am going to do it well.
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[25 Feb 2008|01:37am]
I know I should have been writing, because I had a lot to say, but it's all gone now. It's been a hectic two weeks, I can tell you that.

I have a lot of work to do, and I have to do it well, because I must get excellent grades this term.

My Babcia (that would be my Dad's Mom) is sick and in the hospital. They have found a spot on her lung, which I assume means cancer (although nobody actually uses that term, they only say "spot on lung".) Anyway, I assume lung cancer is fast, and so that is sad. But I haven't seen her for 12 years. So although I should be concerned with how much time she has left to spend with me, what I am most concerned about is how much time I have left to decide if I ever want to see her again. This is a hard decision.

I also feel extremely guilty that I feel this way. I feel awful for my Dad, but also irritated that he has been negligent with her, and that he didn't impose a relationship between my Babcia and I. Perhaps he should have; this distance wouldn't have grown and I wouldn't feel so confused now. But that isn't what happened, so I need to accept that and move on. And anyway, at the time it just seemed to make sense: it was right after my Dziadzia passed away (I liked him a lot) and my Babcia had some sort of breakdown, and I haven't seen her since. I can't remember why exactly this estrangement started, but I remember when, and I remember being on my Mom's side about the whole ordeal. Now, of course, in my postmodern way of thinking, I don't think there is any actual truth; no side is the right side to be on, and so the possibility that I made the wrong decision by refusing to decide whether or not to see my Babcia isn't any more right than the decision I could have made to, in fact, maintain a semblance of relationship.

And honestly, I think there are a lot of greys, but indecision is in itself a decision. The decision not to act (or, the lack of decision that leads to inaction) still instigates consequences. I am most familiar with the process of default negative decision - inaction through indecision - but even that is, I think, a stand of some sort.

So, then, where do I stand in this whole situation? What do I stand to lose either way? Or perhaps that is negative thinking, maybe I should weigh the gains instead. What do I stand to gain either way? Will never seeing her again haunt for the rest of my days? Will going back on the pact I made with myself at 14 forever hang in front of my head like a dangling carrot, telling me to bite bite bite even when the food is ultimately unattainable? Because what, precisely, do I serve to accomplish through the reestablishment of connection? She most likely won't remember me anyway, so it isn't about her. But I suppose I always knew that; it is about me. As indeed everything that concerns me is about me, and everything that concerns you is about you. We are all inherently narcissistic in that sense; we are self-obsessed. But what else is to be expected? Perception is the be all and end all, anyway.

So let's return to the task at hand - I have a tremendous amount of work to do, and I am concerned that I will not do it well. Further, I have to deal with this impending doom of decision-making, which of course makes me anxious. I am a procrastinator; I would put off the rest of my life if I could.

Jeremy wants to go and visit his grandmother this week, which is only fair, I suppose, and I would like to see mine - the other one - and my grandpa, too. There is one apartment that I want to look at (although it will probably be gone by the time we call to look at it, or else we'll see it and it will be perfect, but it doesn't allow cats and I'll get cold feet anyway.)

And then there's the rest of my life. What if I don't get into my school of choice? What will I do then? What will become of the Massare? And, most importantly, what will I do with the time I have left? Because, ultimately, that is the decision we all have to make: if the future is uncertain, it is so in part because precisely how much future preceeds us is unknown. And that unknown is the worst part; it makes everything that comes before a gamble.

It would seem to me, then, that our options are as follows: either we a) indulge in immediate satisfaction (which, in my opinion, could potentially increase your risk of less time left) or we b) plan for a future that may evaporate in a moment when a speeding car comes veering out from your left and hits your driver's side too hard. A happy medium would seem the obvious solution, only one cannot exist, for each option essentially cancels out even a fraction of the other. In order to fully engage in indulgence, one cannot rely on security. And the reliance on security for the future clearly eliminates most, if not all, immediate indulgences. So you tell me - what should we do? What do you do? (And if what you do is try not to think about it, you're moving steadily into inaction, which returns to my earlier point.)

So, what now?

Well, for me, a bit of reading followed by a bit of sleeping followed by more reading and a significant amount of writing. It would seem I am endorsing Life Option B - that is, I am banking on having more, rather than less, time left. And if it turns out I am wrong? Well, what then?

If it's all ultimately a gamble, indifference poses a false option, one that leads to inaction, which, of course, results in ramifications of a different sort.

So here it is: I'm stuck here, for a time, anyway, and these questions are or course unanswerable. So then answer me this: wouldn't we be better off with a lot less time? Because it seems to me that an abundance of time is what led to all these questions in the first place.

As for me and my dilemma, I'll let you know when I've come to a decision. Right now, however, I am going to join the ranks of avoidance - at least for the time being - and read.
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[06 Feb 2008|05:17pm]
Alright so here I am at the University, and the instructor I came here to meet is not here. So I will get zero feedback on my paper and I feel very not-good about this whole scenario.
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[04 Feb 2008|06:43pm]
Alright, I admit - I've hit a wall. Not a writer's block type of wall, exactly, more an inability to concentrate. I am feeling overwhelmed. I really want to make a connection between Faster Pussycat and Shivers so that I can show my draft to Annandale, and he can tell me if I am headed in the right direction with this paper. That's all I want to know - am I on the right track?

But I have so much to do, I keep getting sidetracked: reading for all my classes, the film evaluation for German Cinema, the essay for American Cinema from 1950, and marking, marking, marking.

Lauren and Malcolm have returned from Mexico, and that too has proved to be a major distraction. I'm glad their back safely (and Lauren brought me back a beautiful water pearl necklace) but I am just envious of their fantastic trip.

I will get a break one day...
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[03 Feb 2008|08:22pm]
Alright, well, now I have a choice to make: I can sit here and cross my fingers that I am able to adequately analyse gender configuration in Shivers and connect this to other exploitation film, or I can start writing my paper for German Cinema, or I can go to Jeremy's and watch the film I rented that must be watched for class on Thursday. I could also get some reading for class done, or plan my class for Tuesday.

What will I do? What will I do??

I feel so lazy and unproductive. How can I be so unmotivated? How did my feelings get so hurt, and my drive so stinted?
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[03 Feb 2008|02:59pm]
Yesterday I wrote 520 words for my essay. This afternoon I wrote 300. Technically, I suppose, that's 800 - which would mean I am nearly finished writing - but most unfortunately I only like the new writing; everything from yesterday is insufficient. But, alas, that's how the cookie crumbles; writing is a process, after all.

I have been procrastinating with food and reading, but I am finished the book, and not about to embark on a new one. And anyway, I should be working.
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[02 Feb 2008|10:49pm]
I have written what is technically half of my essay, by which I mean I have used up half of the word count with unsatisfactory words. I am most unhappy with what I have written: I wanted to use theory and connect with the work in an intelligent and intelligible way. I have not done that. But I feel sick and I am going to bed.
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The subject line says it all: I should be writing an essay about David Cronenberg's horror masterpiece Shivers and its relationship to the exploitation field in general and Night of the Living Dead, Blood Feast, Faster Pussycat...Kill! Kill! and Last House on the Left in particular. But what am I doing? Reading a book that is not only not related to my current course of study; a book that is, in fact barely literature (although it is pleasantly gossipy and female - friendly - her husband leaves her! she is better off without him! yay!) and eating homemade rice pudding.

And just in case I needed more motivation for productivity of the educational sort, I went to work today. It exhausted me (perhaps I am still recovering from Wednesday's surgery?) and even now, my Mom asked, "Are you feeling alright? You don't look well." And then I looked in the mirror and goshdarn if she isn't right! I am freezing cold and wrapped in a thermal blanket (although I attribute this to a combination of my own physique and the frigid temperatures inside my house) and my face is all flushed. So maybe I am not well. But what can I do? I will have to write that stinking paper still.

And I should be excited about this paper, and I hope that once I start writing it I will be. There is something exciting, still, about writing on this laptop. The novelty has not worn off yet! Also, I refused Jeremy's company this evening in favor of Cronenberg's, and instead I am basking in the fictional presence of Ria, from my distinctly un-literary and thoroughly enjoyable book.

Alright, enough, enough...back to Ria.
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[30 Apr 2007|12:17pm]
I am thinking of dismantling the Winnipeg Short Film Massacre. I am in the process of making an executive decision to discontinue the festival indifenitely. By which, of course, I mean permanently.

Because here it is: every year we try to allocate funding, and be better organized, and secure a more profitable venue (and by profit I don't mean monetarily speaking, I mean a venue which will adequately serve the purposes of our festival and our audience) but it doesn't feel like a collective action.

This year I intended to register as a nonprofit organization and possibly incorporate and also apply (and hopefully receive) provincial funding. But I missed the deadline. So the fault is mine; I didn't read the fine print. But I think I am ready to throw in the towel. It is too much work, and too little reward. We're all too busy for this shindig, and I just want some time to myself.

But it makes me very very sad, because I love this festival. It makes me feel great to be a part of what I thought was a positive experience. So I am going to make one last ditch effort to reinstate the WSFM; I am making a deal with God: I am going to call the consultant at the Manitoba Arts Council and I am going to inquire about funding. I have already tried to call a number of times, and there has been no answer.

So here are the contest rules and regulations:

If the phone is answered, and an appointment made to discuss current or future funding of the WSFM (I will settle for 2008 funding if neccessary) then the festival will continue this year.

If the phone rings through to a machine, or I am informed that funding, current or future, is unavailable to our enterprise, then the Massacre is finished.

Poor Mariane Butler; she has no idea how much is riding on whether or not she answers her phone.
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[08 Mar 2007|09:00am]
Test in Canadian Film today. Then I get to discover whether or not my project proposal went through.

And Don McKellar. This day might not be so bad after all...
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[19 Feb 2007|01:48pm]
It's ten minutes to two o'clock on a Monday afternoon and I am feeling lethargic. Debated a nap earlier, but the plan was thwarted quickly when Nico decided that putting her nails into my legs would be a nice thing to do.

I have a lot of work I need to get done, but I am putting it off. Procrastination, thy name is Jennif.er!

I was thinking that I must really be getting on in years. I am basing this on my radio habits as of late. First, there was the oldies station. Some of the songs I recognised, most I didn't, but once they all became familiar I decided it was time to switch stations. I moved onwards and upwards to CBC Radio One - the ever-aging talk radio station. But what's more is that I actually enjoy listening to it.

It began with Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe, and slowly progressed to a general enjoyment of the news, Canada-style. Maybe it is the weather that is aging me.

I would still like to meet John Irving one day. But Stuart McLean, too. I would like to meet Stuart McLean.
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