10:06 AM

There's Only Up From Here

5 am is ugly and cruel.  Vampires have yet to take to ground and the ghosts still giggle on the stairs.  Thriving Ivory bursts through dr...


Twenty-one years old, holding tight against me this life to whom I was the whole world, scared to break him, thrilled to mold him, teach hi...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Wood Stove Learning Curve

"I'm duuuuuuunnnnn!" he hollers and the back door slams.  There's a wet shuffle along the hall and the dancing out of the snow pants and the bragging to his brother as he passes the craft room doorway - "Zander, I did da snowboawd down da staiws and I didn't even wipe out untiwl da end!"  And with his two front teeth missing his mispronouncing is more pronounced and I kind of hope those teeth take forever to grow in because he's just so cute and there's no way he could ever say "THE" right now.

He is rosy and breathless as he bounces downstairs to share that same story of taking the Ninja Turtle snowboard down the five steps by the retaining wall.  "Where are all your wet things, Liam?" I ask him.

"Upstayors.  On da floowr."

"Can you bring them down by the fire so they dry out before school tomorrow?"

He blows out an annoyed breath but stomps back up to get them, returning with a wet, lumpy pile and proceeds to drop the whole thing right on top of the stove.

Hissing and fizzling and smoke rising and me: "GET IT OFF!!!  GET IT OFF!!!"

So ends the life of one well-traveled jacket
And there's fear on his face and he pulls it from it's torture and drops it on the ground and his eyebrows come together and there's a black mess of goo bubbling on the cast iron and the whole house fills with the smell of burning mushrooms and now he is the not-so-proud owner of a backless winter coat.

He's thinking about crying.  Worrying on his lip over it.  Checking my face for anger.  But I'm not angry at all.  Maybe it's because I know we have another hand-me-down coat that will take the place of this liquified death-pile or maybe it's because that huge gap in his mouth that makes a "th" impossible is so ridiculously adorable.  Whatever it is, he was forgiven before he offended.   I find it kind of funny and lesson learned - the stove is hot; don't put stuff on it.  The end.

Monday, November 26, 2012

There's Only Up From Here

5 am is ugly and cruel.  Vampires have yet to take to ground and the ghosts still giggle on the stairs.  Thriving Ivory bursts through dreams reeking of anxiety - one-hit-wonder morning anthem to peel me from beneath this warmth - inviting only for the lack of teeth chatter for it promises nothing more than the same fitful rest.

Today is a first and I'm stupidly nervous as I make the shower nearly too hot to handle and slough this weary from my bones.  It's been years of my father pushing and pushing and "it would be so good for you."  Kind speak for "I think you're wasting your good by not investing."

Darkness still hangs heavy when he pulls in the driveway and suddenly it's winter and he hasn't put snow tires on the van yet and we skim the highway at 60km the whole way to Mount Forest before the road clears enough to let the needle climb beyond what makes our followers (better prepared with their own tires) angry.

I ask guarded questions even though he's told one hundred different stories about the one hundred different conferences he's already attended.

Long stretches of silence and the defrost fan roaring and the sky slowly greying to a pale uncolour and me cupping my silver mug of tea, finger worrying along it's rim - doubting my ability to be anything more than a wallflower.

We arrive.  We settle.  I write "Alanna Rusnak" in red ink and paste it to my chest.  I take my seat and poise my pen and I am a 'writer' amoung WRITERS!  A pigeon amoung peacocks.  A scuffed penny amoung silver dollars  Oh, what would I give for a good old Rowling Invisibility Cape?!

I write because I don't know how to speak.  I don't know how to sell myself.  I balk at dripping arrogance and when people ask me questions I feel like I gape at them awkwardly and deliver less than inspired dribble that means nothing and looses me in their graces.  I am not memorable.  I am not verbally eloquent.  I am not a bright shining star who can loquaciously advertise myself with persuasive argument.

No.  I am the mute shadow ducked in a corner, lips sewn shut, making extra trips to the ladies room just to get away from all those real shiny people.

And they really are lovely - those shiny aliens - those whole-package people who stink of confidence and share their life story face to face with strangers and who nonchalantly slip into our basically one-sided conversation what awards they've won or what they've been short-listed for.

"And what do you write?" After they've dumped on me this resume of grandiose accomplishment and I am sweating with embarrassment because what can I say without becoming that preening monster I don't want to be.

I feel insignificant and as ugly as 5 am.

I attend three workshops - two of which are highly insightful and one of which opens my eyes to possibilities that actually seem attainable though not without investment.  I'm better for it.  I am being pushed.  And for those few people out there who believe in me - please don't stop lest I fall.  My feet are shaky and my hands are sweaty and I think maybe I have some inherent fear of success.

So here's to breaking down walls.  To picking away at this shell so hard around me.  Or maybe to embracing it...?  I am who I was made to be - I shouldn't have to apologize for that.  So I won't.  I will just be.  I will write because somehow it completes me.  Maybe it will take me somewhere.  Maybe it won't.  I only know that I have things inside me that I need to say and say them I will - maybe just not to your face.

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained. - Marie Curie

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Twenty-one years old, holding tight against me this life to whom I was the whole world, scared to break him, thrilled to mold him, teach him, guide him, lead him.  Set him free.  See him blossom.

He burst forth and I learned I was tougher than I thought I was.  He cried for six months and I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was.  He stretched and pulled and softened me and I learned that my own mother was my hero and if I could achieve even half of what she had in his upbringing I would wear that parental success with pride.

What is eleven?  It can't be corralled into a sentence or assigned a colour.  It is messy floors and don't care about showering and peach fuzz on an upper lip - but this can't define it.  It's too grown up to be called Baby but young enough to be called Babe.  It is attitude and entitlement and annoyances and done with toys but not Lego.  It's all the sweetness of that first nestling infant tucked up hard into the heart of a boy with sights set on being a man.

Eleven is each white hair named for and from him.  It is those moments when he nurtures and cares with a tenderness beyond what I could have possibly bestowed.  It is those moments when he riles and stomps and lashes but still comes back with all apology because when he breaks my heart he breaks his own.

And his own is so soft and he stands so strong and sure and I am bursting with pride over his own self-worth and the way he remembers people gently and how he fools me into thinking he believes in magic and lets me tuck him in at night and still kisses me square on the lips because in our home our love is loud and true like that.

Eleven is taking his own dishes to the sink.  It is helping the little one turn on the bathroom tap.  It is homework.  It is actual competition in Boggle.  It is yelling back as he runs out the door for the bus, "Love you, too!" while all I hear is the echo of a three-years-old with that grin dripping joy, "I you much!"

Eleven.  And I am an old woman and I am still so young and he has so much growing to do and soon his daddy will teach him how to shave and then drive and then...and then...and then...

I hope only that in all things I can be proud of this little man I have made, sent out upon the world to make it that much better.

Eleven.  It just crept right up and kicked me in the shin but I'll kick it right back and say with confidence that I've done all right so far.  So far, he's turned out pretty darn good.
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