Thursday, May 14, 2009

I really really want to go back to Las Vegas

The weather keeps getting worse. Winter just never ends. It was raining/snowing at 6:00 so I decided to skip my running group. I'll try to run tomorrow, even if it means the treadmill.

When I was in Las Vegas I read Vincent Lam's "Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures" . It is a wonderful read with some very interesting chapters focused on the SARS epidemic that unfolded for Canadians in Toronto in 2003. I am not surprised this book won the Giller Prize (2006).  The narrative interweaves the story of a group of young medical students and their lives as they begin to build their careers. Vincent Lam is a physician himself and brings this experience to his writing. It is his first novel, which leaves me to think, "isn't it crazy how talented some people are?" Lam has not only trained to be a physician but despite the large responsibility and commitment this requires, he also dreamt of being a novelist. What makes a person dream so big and turn those dreams into such a successful reality? 

I know I am not alone in wishing that earlier in life I would have known the things I know now. I can't say how this would have changed my life but I do believe there is a thread of truth when older people joke that youth is wasted on the young. But maybe it is not so much an issue of age, but of time limitations, distraction and responsibility that draw us away from the creativity that exists inside all of us. Even in the prosperity and security that I live in as a middle class Canadian, creating a creative space that allows me to express myself whether intellectually or artistically is incredibly difficult. To truly find my creative self requires blocking out the world around me, which was easier when I was younger because of the few responsibilities that I had. Today I resemble a typical single mother, juggling "it all" including, raising my child, building a career to give us a stable and comfortable lifestyle, being responsibility for the upkeep and care of my house and car, and trying to find time for a personal life. Blocking out the world to write, photograph, or explore other creative avenues is an enormous challenge, and brings added anxiety because in my case, promotion and job security hinges on my intellectual creativity. While I have responsibility for creating the very busy life that I live, I am also aware that I exist within a capitalist society that attaches money to creativity in ways that I believe not only constrains my imagination and potential but also that of the majority of people globally in grotesque and damaging ways. For those who want to cry foul and argue that my great life style is the product of capitalist processes, your point is taken, I am only sighing an observation and whispering quiet questions of possibility, "What if it were different?" "Where is it different?" "What can we learn?"

I am now reading, "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb. I'm enjoying it but I'm not crazy about it. It may just be the subject matter or just my mood since arriving home from all that sun and fun to piles of work and snow. 


  1. Wow. Very inspiring. Come down here to the Bible Belt and you'll really see some restraint -- I envy all you Northerners -- you are so much more free and open minded.

  2. Hey, thanks for the nice comment! C