November 6, 2012

You Never Read the Same Book Twice

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 4:23 am
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Save one unfortunate decision to return to an old job (it lasted 2 months), I’ve never moved back to anything in my life. Not to my home town, not to my old school, not even to my old hobbies. Until now. Now, I’m back in Oslo.

I used to say that there’s no going back, only forward, so the thought of returning scared me. I worried that I’d feel the same way I had when I tried to go back to that other job: that Oslo would be an old dress that no longer fit. Not to mention all the people – writing buddies, colleagues, friends – I would leave behind in Montreal.

I do miss my Montreal people, I even miss the Montreal version of me, but being back in Oslo is exhilarating. I’m trying my hand at a new career in freelance translation, I’m figuring out how to write in Norwegian, and I’m re-connecting with old friends.

And, as it turns out, my self-made saying held true. Going back is impossible. Although I’m back in Oslo, I’m not back in my old Oslo. People have changed and so have I. It feels like I’m rereading a well-worn favourite, and finding a whole new book inside the old covers.


October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 2:06 pm
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It’s Canadian Thanksgiving today, Columbus Day for Americans, or Monday for everyone else. It’s time to be close to your family, give thanks and be grateful while vehemently ignoring the real reason we’re celebrating (the violent appropriation of another people’s lands).

So keeping with tradition, this is what I’m thankful for: Pumpkins. Coffee. Free wifi. And all my friends, near and far, close and distant. I would not be the same without you, and I am so grateful to have met you. Take a virtual piece of pie from me and a big thanks. I love you all.

September 1, 2012

It Must Have Been Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 7:23 pm
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The mood in the ice hockey court dressed up as a concert hall is singular. Thirty years of emotion saturates the air like the waves of music blasting from the sound system. I’m hidden in a crowd comprised mostly of the same people who came to see Roxette the last time they played Montreal, only twenty years and three kids later.

Marie Fredriksson is worn and beautiful as she struggles to keep up with the rest of the band’s perfect rendering of classic pop songs. The looks that pass between her and Per Gessle during the ballads break my heart. The grin on her face as she hits the high notes on Fading like a Flower resonates inside me. The audience has no choice: dancing is our only option.

“She’s got the look,”
Per sings and it’s suddenly 1991, summer in Denmark and a scratchy car stereo with too much treble and not enough bass.

“I’m living in a box but I come out when opportunity nox” the crowd chants to the beaming band. I sing along and it’s suddenly high school graduation. My classmates are spinning unselfconsciously and I feel my hips popping to the beat as I suck on a cigarette and pretend to be too cool to like Roxette.

“‘Cos every time I seem to fall in love / Crash! Boom! Bang!” Marie lilts and I lying on the floor in my room, imagining what heartache must feel like.

“The fever turns slowly into a fire, drawing a fine line, a neverending love” everyone sings, the band and audience in complete synergy, and it’s the day before second grade starts and I’m dancing through my best friend’s house, her mop a mike stand, my air guitar on perfect form.

As the band files out, leaving Marie and Per on stage, surrounded by the thunderous cheers of a full hockey stadium, I realize just how much of my life’s score belongs to Roxette. And I smile.

June 11, 2012

Picturing the Protest

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 9:06 pm
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Montreal student protests have been going on for over a hundred days. It’s interesting, and noisy, and I have many opinions about it, but I thought instead of sharing all of them, I’d show you some images.

On a nighttime stroll, I met a homeless man. He showed me his pirate ship and told me: Watch the news. This ship will make sense soon. It all will.

A few nights later, I took another walk. This night, the cops had cornered off several streets, trying to stop the protesters from getting into the downtown area.

It was a brave, new world.

They pushed the throbbing mass of fireworks-toting students back using tear gas and riot shields.

And at the end of it, I still didn’t understand the significance of the pirate ship.

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