Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I've seen the future...



I'm feeling a bit desperate to be read, loved and published these days. It's a phase I swing in and out of, one that's often accompanied by some sort of mildly irrational behaviour. (See here, herehere, here and here.)

It was that state of mind that, last night, pushed me all the way to Cabbagetown and down a dark sidewalk to the creaky front door of a psychic. Actually, he doesn't like to call himself a "psychic," but he reads cards and tells me what's going to happen to me in the future so....

I'd never met the man before, but I'd heard stories, incredible stories, and he did not disappoint. He was a force of nature; oozing personality and attitude and LIFE. He had an ancient dog who farted as if on cue and enormous, looming antiques that made me feel claustrophobic. He burrowed into my eyes with his, reading me more than the cards, and got to business. He told me there was travel in my future, that this was a year of immense change and that the Canadian economy was going to be in the absolute shitter. Then he said something about Jupiter in retrograde, Martha Stewart, Genghis Khan, his day spent fabric shopping and I mentally checked out. I pictured his rococo armoire reaching out, its ornate handles as hands, digging into my pocket for his $65 fee.

He won me back quickly, though, because he is breathtakingly good at what he does. I am creative, he said, and my soul is on fire. I have an innate talent and it needs to sing. He said something about my "physicality" that freaked me the f#$% out because he was dead on. Then he had me shuffle a new deck, split it in three and that's when he said the big IT. It would all work out, he told me, my book, my writing career. Not without struggle, of course, but it would happen. By July or October of this year, he said. I was taken aback -- I wasn't expecting, like, dates and stuff. My stomach jumped into my throat and if the dog hadn't farted again, I just might have.

I felt so special in that room. He made me feel like my dreams were going to come true; that they were, in fact, already in the process of coming true. As I walked out of his home and headed towards the streetcar, my engagement ring still in my pocket, I let myself believe -- I embraced his reading as prophecy.

Today, now that the magic of his showmanship has faded, my belief has weakened. But the dream hasn't. And for me, the dream is enough.

Monday, February 11, 2013

High hopes and new Popes

Not much to report as of late, hence the radio silence. I've also been really busy writing. I recently finished a short story called "The Year of Falling Glass" and submitted it to the Toronto Star's short story contest -- one of the best short fiction contests I've ever come across in terms of prizes and mainstream exposure. Can you imagine making $5000 for a short story? That's unheard of, at least in Canadian literary circles where prizes are either

a) a congratulatory snowball (freezer-shipped to you at your expense),
b) clippings from Michael Ondaatje's beard, or 
c) an empty promise of a moose and/or aurora borealis sighting 

If you're eligible, I highly suggest you toss your hat in the Toronto Star's ring. (Is it just me or did that sound vaguely sexual?) The deadline is February 24. And get this: there's no entry fee. 

Anyways, I hope all is well with your writing/reading/living and that your pick for Pope gets the nod. Here's mine: