Monthly Archives: October 2015
I said goodbye to some dear friends today.
Rachel arrived at the church a year after I did—she was a seminary student, I was in the choir. After completing her placement, Rachel stayed on. For the past while, she’s been an Associate Priest. Her husband Leeman is a brilliant performer, a vibrant presence in Toronto’s geek community, and he also voiced Rodney in Coxwood History Fun Park.
Now they’re heading off to the US, where Rachel has secured a pretty amazing chaplaincy position. I am so incredibly proud of her.
And my friends are moving away.
During Rachel’s last homily, I got misty-eyed in the choir stalls, but I mostly kept it together until afterwards. Then the canon caught my eye and I dissolved into tears.
“That was such a beautiful funeral service,” he said.
The tears were a ball in my throat, and I couldn’t speak.
“She was absolutely the right person,” he continued.
See, Rachel organized and conducted my dad’s funeral. She commended the coffin to its gravesite. She prepped me for months before my confirmation. She’s my friend.
And yet, even as we kept making each other cry, there was a part of me that hung back, marvelling. Is this not wonderful?
Specifically, is it not wonderful that such communities can form? For myself, I entered both choir and church without any intention of staying. But I did. More than that, I formed relationships with these people. Yes, there was no dry eye in the parish hall, but is it not wonderful that we care enough about each other to cry like that? Is it not wonderful that all of us—imperfect, flawed, broken human beings that we are—can come together and form family? And finally, is it not wonderful that we can be so vulnerable—that we can bare our hearts, and not hide the tears, and actually say what we feel for each other?
This vulnerability comes from deep, abiding trust. Hearts are delicate things. It takes a lot of courage to expose them. It also takes a lot of faith—faith that the other party will treat your heart gently and not break it. Or almost worse, be indifferent to it. Like all matters of the heart, it’s a risk. So is it not wonderful when we find people who are willing to take that risk with us?
I did wonder, there in the parish hall, if these painful goodbyes are the price we pay for developing close relationships. Deeper tears for deeper joys?
But I’m not actually sure that’s the case. I don’t think it’s a price. I don’t think it’s a bargain we strike between hearts. Tears are not comeuppance or payment for joy. Rather, the tears and the joys come from the same place—that deep wellspring of love (however you want to define and contextualize “love”). Really, it’s all the same thing, arising from the same source. Which is why, while goodbyes are incredibly difficult—well, is this not wonderful? Is it not wonderful we had this time together? Is it not wonderful we care so much?
In any case, it’s not like anyone’s died. Social media is a wonderful tool. And honestly, the chances that we’ll all see each other at some convention are higher than not.
Best of luck, my friends. It has been wonderful to have these years together.
What I’m Listening to This Week
After leaving the reception, I ducked back into the nave for a moment to centre and recollect myself. From nowhere, this piece began playing in my head. I’d almost forgotten I knew it. It’s light, it’s gentle, and it is very self-explanatory. This. All of this.
Happy Thanksgiving! And yes, American-types, it is Canadian Thanksgiving, which tends to be a much lower-key affair than yours. Mostly there’s just turkey and general goodwill. And also, no pilgrims. Although I like the pilgrims’ hats.
Anyway. For some reason, Facebook has been doing that “See Your Memories” thing a lot lately. Oddly, the memories it’s choosing to show are all memories from three years ago. Remember when your box of books arrived? Remember when you went on a quest for an author photo? Remember when Hapax came out? Remember that book launch?
I remember it being a very surreal time…that also felt very much in flux. As I recall, I was newly back from my first Dragon*Con. There were a lot of tentative friendships just starting to get their feet under them. And in hindsight, I was very wide-eyed and adorably eager about the whole thing.
Looking back at this, the friendships and relationships stand out most. Facebook keeps sharing pictures of friendships just barely starting to sprout. So much has happened since then. Sunshine and frost and cozy afternoons and dark nights of the soul. Those little seedlings have put down strong roots, toughened up their leaves, and come forth with fruit.
And how thankful I am for this harvest.
I do believe—very strongly—that everything happens for a reason. Even the painful, hard things—they’re transition points, turning points. No, you don’t have to like them. But I think it’s helpful to recognize them as such. Sometimes, to get to the light, we need to pass through the tunnel first.
Again, you don’t have to like it. You don’t have to like the angst or the uncertainty. In fact, it’d be strange if you did. My point, I suppose, is that later—when the fever is broken, when the storm has passed, when the dawn is come—it is possible to look back to the darkness and heartache and be thankful. Not thankful that it happened, necessarily, but thankful for what came of it.
Friendships. Love. Purpose. Beauty.
It’s a rough road, but often the rough roads lead us where we need to go. With love, no journey is impossible. Right now, I’m in a good spot. And for those currently travelling—I’ll walk with you.
What I’m Listening To This Week
You all know I like early music. Byrd, Tallis, Palestrina…that’s my jam. This beautiful little Palestrina motet has become fixed with Thanksgiving in my mind. As soon as I hear it, I start feeling crisp breezes and smelling fallen leaves.
As with most Baroque pieces, there’s a million different lines happening at once, the parts passing the melody around like a hot potato. Unusually for me, I can actually follow the bass part pretty well in this one…although perhaps that’s not surprising, as it tends to complement/mirror the top line throughout. I LOVE the section around 1:20 when the “Buccinates” start – especially for the sopranos, it’s just so joyful. Also the runs on “tuba” make me happy.
I’m back from my jaunt south of the border. My visits with Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris never last long enough, but I always come home feeling like my head’s been screwed on straight again. Not only do I spend time with people very dear to my heart, I can pause and get my creative bearings.
Which is good. I needed a kick in the pants, because…
Heartstealer is coming out soon.
I know, I know. We had this conversation seven months ago. The novel was all proofed, it had an ISBN assigned, I had a beautiful cover by Starla Hutchton, interviews and guest posts were ready to drop. Literally, I just had to push the Big Red Button to make it a real, self-published book.
And then things happened. And then things didn’t happen. And then I felt bad about myself. And then I didn’t have time. And then I wondered if I should even release it at all.
Fortunately, I also saw Abigail Hilton and Lauren Harris relatively recently (July is recent, right?). They told me that if only button-pushing remained…then I should just push the damn button already.
And here’s the thing: I still love this story. I still love the characters, I love the world, and I love the themes. A few weeks back, someone came into the brewery with a heavy Irish accent and my heart just melted. Heartstealer still feels like home to me. Yes, there’s at least five other novels in the pipeline (four I’ll be talking about later this month, one’s still rattling around the old noggin), but I’m not quite done with my girls yet. Mairi and Sara have a story. It’s got ghosts and gods and long-leggedy beasties. It’s a story about love, and grief, and tangled histories.
I want to tell it.
So here’s the deal: it’ll be out on Amazon—print and e-copies—by October 7th. Sometime in the eventual future, we’ll get the Audible version as well, thanks to my supremely skilled Voice Talent of Awesome (as Tee Morris has dubbed her).
And then, we shall see. I hope people enjoy reading Heartstealer, because I had a hell of a good time writing it.
What I’m Listening to This Week
Oh, I’ve been listening to the most wonderful piece! “Dark Night of the Soul,” by Ola Gjeilo. We start with a bang—that thrilling, driving rhythm in the instrumentals; the long, drawn-out chords in the choir. It’s the kind of piece that grabs you and doesn’t let go.
It’s also twelve mintues long, which means there’s several changes in mood and pace. I love the lilting lines in the lower parts around 3:53, and the dreamy middle section (all those tinkling piano runs!), but my absolute favourite comes around the 9:00 mark, when delicate strings explode into our initial driving rhythm. Only to the nth degree.
I get lost in pieces like this, where so much is happening at once. There’s no feeling like it.