Blog refresh #1

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, but I’m back!! 🙂 And it’s good to be here. Thanks for stopping by.

I’m happily enrolled in an online blog course now, and one suggestion in it is to write a real letter. (Who remembers those? Me! Me! With great fondness.) However, the person I most want to write to, other than my dear Nana who died nearly two years ago, is my friend Serena, who lives in a small town in Baja California and doesn’t have reliable postal delivery. So, on Friday night we messaged each other on Instagram instead, and before I sent her a blurry shot of me in my new reading glasses (yay, 50!), she sent me a two-second video of herself chewing gum in a car after a cross-fit class, and also a blurry snap of a tienda, a local corner store where we used to buy Maria cookies and Jersey Milk chocolate bars.

Or maybe that was just me—Jersey Milk bars were the one Canadian thing I could find in the Baja, which made me feel less lonely, and also made me crave s’mores. (When a friend visited from Vancouver Island, I had him bring was a muffin from my favourite bakery. It was stale by the time he arrived, since most muffins seem to go stale nearly as soon as they cool, but it was the most wonderful treat. Muffins in Mexico are generally corn cakes made in a cupcake shape. Mine had chocolate chips and espresso in the batter—you can understand why I was missing them.)

All of this got me thinking about how much fun Serena and I had; we met in our twenties, when I moved to town (see pic of my rented casita above!), and it wasn’t long before we became fast friends—the gringa girls. We were mostly single, and mostly ready to party or dance or swim or hike in the desert any old time. She taught me how to wear lipstick and live in a foreign country; she introduced me to the huerta, the lush little oasis at the edge of town where a hundred crops grow; she showed me a faster way to make rolled oats for breakfast; she inspired me to reinvent myself, for the better. And this reinvention continued through our letters; after I moved back to Canada, we spent years sending thick letters to one another, filled with news that was old by the time it arrived, but no less timely or precious. I was able to be more expressive, somehow, on the page. Freer, funnier (or so I thought), both deeper and more frivolous than with anyone else. Nothing was sacred, and yet everything was, because we gave it our full attention and memorialized it in writing.

I still have those letters, packed alongside my old writing journals and cards, and although I haven’t reread them in years, I still treasure them. I haven’t seen my friend in a few years, either, but we have plans to do so this coming summer; last summer she was close to me, within the same fifty kilometres, but she was on a tiny island that I couldn’t get to before she had to return south.

I’ve been thinking how most humans are resistant to change, and how we have to learn to roll with it anyway. I sometimes call myself a neophile, because I seem to thrive on the new, but honestly, I also value tradition and familiarity… I just resist ruts whenever I am able. I’m about to begin amping up my writing business online, spending more energy on social media, and a friend said yesterday, “We just have to get over ourselves and do it. Follow our kids’ lead. Make it happen.” So that’s what I’m doing, taking this amazing blogging course offered by Kerry Clare, and designing online posts for my forthcoming Daily Word Prompts.

I’m also revelling in the day-after vibes of having offered another fun and successful in-person writing class, which offers me a gentle thrill like nothing else can. To be in the presence of people creating? Beginners especially, daring to try something new, getting lost in the work on the page? That’s the kind of party I thrive on these days. Although what I wouldn’t give for a walk beside my amiga, Serena, to Punta Lobos, to feel the slash of the Pacific at our shins as we listen to the pangas hit the sand, as the fishermen return with the day’s catch. Te extraño, my friend. And hopefully, hasta pronto. xoxo J

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