Really, how hard is it to write a sentence? Oftentimes I find myself sitting in front of my computer these days completely unable to type out even one single sentence. I’ve written hundreds of pages in this thesis so far, yet as the end comes into sight I find the simplest of writing tasks impossible. Transitions, introductory sentences, concluding thoughts…these elude me and turn me into the grumpiest of writers. A walk across the campus this morning reminded me that countless others have been in this place and have come out on the other side. And now they are taking their turn walking across the green space (which is now a big, white tented carnivalesque happy delight!), sporting various McGill graduating costumes and beaming their biggest smiles to their family and friends gathered there. I couldn’t be there when two of my dear friends and partners in crime had their moment on the McGill stage, but I’ve heard the story enough times that I can see Tom leading the charge behind the traditional piper. Tom, who did it his own way! Tom, who wrote so many sentences that his end-of-thesis-heartbreak came from having to remove sentences (and pages, and chapters…) I’d love to be drowning my end-of-thesis-heartbreak with Tom over a pint (or two) but even if that was possible, I’d still have to come back to the computer and just write. And Tom would say that – just write, it’ll come.
So to Tom, to summer pints, to graduation garb, and to painful sentence construction…
My mom just finished reading the Scarlet Letter on her new Kobo. The movie was playing when I walked by the Future Shop. I heard someone giving a lecture recently who made reference to the book as well. Sometimes the world just is that way.
I read the Scarlet Letter in high school. When I first thought about it, I thought I had read it because it was required curriculum reading. But I don’t think that’s how the story goes. I think I read it because I wanted to read about sex.
I’ve been thinking about what it would feel like to wear a scarlet letter. Which of our sins or mistakes would we choose? Right now I’d have to wear a scarlet P for procrastination. My thesis is sitting there looking at me like I left her without water for days on end. Of course, there are lots of other mistakes I’ve made too. I’d have an L, F, A, C….most of the letters of the alphabet really. (I’ll let the readers be imaginative in their interpretation of those letters!) What would it feel like to put your mistakes on display?? Would public confession lighten the load or increase the burden? What would shame look like in a world like that?
Wearing the letters and seeing letters on other people though are two very different things. What would it feel like to know everyone else’s sins? Who would you befriend? Who would you trust? Who would you welcome into your home? Who would ever cast the first stone?
I think I like people better without their letters on display. We all have them. That knowledge is enough.
Tonight I played driveway hockey with a four year old. I was the goalie. He was representing the entire Tampa Bay Lightning. He was scoring on more than 50% of his shots. Truth is, I’m scared of his shot. He looked at me rather consolingly and said – it’s ok you’re not a great goalie, it’s because you’re a woman. I was stunned. All in one moment I was angry and embarrassed and horrified and saddened. I was sure it was nothing he had heard in my house. After all, I am the one who taught him: God is great, God is good and we thank HER for this food. For a split second I was angry at his daycare, then the daycare friends, then television, then his books, then his toys. I was SURE there was someone to blame. Though I still point a finger at TSN, I’m taking the experience as a wake-up call. In some ways I’d like to control everything that enters into his lightning-fast mind (yes, yes, there are therapists aplenty for that!), but that’s not the way it works and I have to come to terms with that. Somehow.
I looked back at him, pushing back my tears quite literally and said: Ever hear of Kim St-Pierre??
I wonder if a day will come when I walk into work and I am not thinking about those who have walked this exact path before me. I’ve walked through those doors hundreds of times. I work with people who have walked through them thousands of times. I don’t ask – do you think about it everytime too?
Every day I walk in the footsteps of people I’ve never met and never will meet.