Search This Blog

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When I Grow Up

Even as an adult, I have always said, "I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up." No matter what I chose to do, I felt unfinished, incomplete, and unfocused.


In a way I was proud of this. I contrasted my freewheeling open-to-every-possibility self with the legions of professional women locked into suits and high heels, or the additional legions of women mired in got-to-have-a-job positions that were overwhelmingly boring. I still didn't know what I wanted to do, but at least all my options were still open.


Oh, I worked. I held down jobs and dealt with vile bosses and supported myself, after a fashion. But I was never settled. Every three years I needed a change, and every ten years I needed a major change. After I moved to Toronto I spent three years editing and publishing, working "from the home." But I finally rebelled. I decided that if 50 cents an hour was going to be my salary, then at least I'd earn it by doing something I wanted to do.


So I spent the next ten years in crafts, makingmakingmaking all year long so that I could sell everything during one hectic weekend in November. This was fun for a while. And then, after ten years, I said, "Never again." No explanation, just "that's it." I sold or gave away almost all my fabrics and my yarns.


I immersed myself in holistic healing for ten years. Oh, THIS is what I was meant to do. But every time I heard myself say that, I knew it was not true. Whatever I was doing was good and interesting and very rewarding, but it was NOT what I was meant to do. It was not the final answer.


And now I've grown up. I've advanced beyond those temporary answers from the past. Now I know what I want to do. It feels right. And that's what it is: write.


Each of us is born alone and dies alone. We live our lives virtually in isolation, knowing very little of each other. We seldom get to see into even the person we are closest to, let alone a neighbor or a nephew or a friend. I think what I am meant to do is to write and as I write to show myself. It took me a long time to learn this, but now I know: when I grew up, I found I am a writer.



Copyright 2010 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Easy Entry

Write from the point of easy entry

if there is one.

And if there isn't, just

make one,

with chisel or ice pick

with needle or pin

with church key or paring knife,

cleaver or axe.


Create that point of entry.

Fashion a little opening in the hide

of the idea,

for unless and until you go through,

you are not where you want to be..


Perhaps, like the yellow-jacket

probing for the sweetness of the fruit,

you will find

without extraordinary measures

that point through which to enter.

Take your pleasure there.

Surround yourself with sweetness.

And you will bring back to the world

whatever gods' nectar you find,

distilled from the honeyed stuff of truth,

filtered through your long insertion.


Copyright 2010 Ann Tudor   

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The pre-performance lectures for opera and ballet are held in the glass-enclosed second floor lobby space of the new Four Seasons Performance Center. I arrived a little late for a recent lecture, so all the seats were taken. I stood against the wall facing the windows. When the sun began to stream in, threatening to overheat the room and the patrons, the clever, automatic, light-triggered shades lowered themselves. From then on, wavy shadows rippled against the shades, forming and reforming lines that were curvy, then straight, then wavy. I couldn't see what exactly was making such attractive patterns, so I just watched them as I pretended to be listening to the talk.


The next day I was looking out our front window at the familiar neighbourhood. The sun shone through the maple tree across from us, creating dapples that danced with each slight breeze.


The shadow phenomenon! There aren't many laws of physics that are so immediately comprehensible. Take a light source (a rather wimpy term for our Sun), put something in front of it to block the light, and voila! Shadows play against any surface. Still shadows invite study. Wind-driven, dancing shadows invite dreaminess. Shadows supply the simple mind with endless entertainment.


Imagine lying under your big oak or maple or (lucky you!) elm in the summer. The leaf-shadows dapple you and shield you from the hot sun. As the breeze blows, shadows dance over your face, your arms, your legs, camouflaging you so that you are just another piece of the landscape.


I'm with Gerard Manley Hopkins: "Glory be to God for dappled things . . ."



Copyright 2010 Ann Tudor   

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Signs of Spring

The air these days is luminous. We wake to a grey sky and a drizzle that lasts the day, but the following day is sunlight from the start. Dark-glasses weather, it's so bright. Scrubbed clean, everything revealed, the city faces spring with a bright face.


Walking this morning I saw golden yellow wherever I looked. Tulips, some normal, and some in that attenuated shape that we plant because we get bored with normal. Daffodils (or are they narcissi? Or jonquils?), so bright and crisp they look artificial, fill the tiny front yards along the sidewalk. Just as you can divide dessert-lovers into chocolate people and caramel people, spring gardeners are either tulip people or daffodil people. I'm a tulip person, myself.


"And what about forsythia?" cries someone from the peanut gallery. "You haven't mentioned forsythia!" It's coming, you know. Soon huge roiling bushes of it will fill the corners of yards (the corner where the lot meets the sidewalk, or the house meets the porch, or the side of the house meets the front). We plant forsythia to brighten our corners.


May I rant for a moment? About one-fifth of the owners of forsythia bushes seem to be forsythia-phobes. Have you noticed this? The forsythia is a wild thing. Like a pre-Raphaelite beauty, its glory is its hair, the golden locks that flow and extend the line of the bush. When I think of the most beautiful forsythia I've ever seen, I remember a very large bush whose branches, each strung with golden-yellow butterfly gems, floated into space from the base of the bush. The arc of the strand soared from the base to the farthest tip, each slim golden branch swooping off in a different direction. The graceful flowing strands of the bush swayed with the slightest breeze. A forsythia bush is like the long, disheveled locks of a lover after a lazy afternoon in bed.


That's a forsythia.


Now, have you seen the forsythias owned by forsythia-phobes? Sure, you have. Some mad pruner has given the bush a crew cut, obliterating the grace. This is the military model of the forsythia. Stems have been trimmed into a rigid hedge-shape, and the charming flowers struggle in vain to remind you what they could be if the branches were allowed to grow into their natural shape.


These bushes still go by the name "forsythia," but they are stunted, deformed, and the antithesis of the lovely forsythia. I have even seen forsythia bushes trained as standards—that is, trained to have an actual central trunk with flowering branches—neatly pruned, of course—at the top. An abomination.


Well, here's to the arrival of spring—and to naturally flowing forsythia bushes!


Copyright 2010 Ann Tudor