Soundtracks

Do you ever step out your front door and a soundtrack begins playing in your head, as though you’re in a film? I do it all the time. It happens sometimes when I slam the car door shut, the music starts, something’s beginning. Often I am actually hearing music through my earphones. I see a lot of my life as a film, like I’m an outside observer. It’s full of cliches; both my life perceived this way and the actual act of doing this. But whatever. Before I did that unit on scriptwriting I thought I’d be really good at it, but it was such a disaster. It was part of my Grad Dip in writing. I had this teacher whose experience seemed to revolve around having written Neighbours episodes and she was one of those people that I just clashed with. Not in an angry way, we just didn’t really get each other. I felt like everyone else in the course was cruising along and writing up all these great ideas and mine was just poo, awful story about nothing written like a kid, terrible. It was such a rude shock, that scriptwriting could be a total disaster. But that’s actually what writing was for me for a long time, a total disaster. I always had talent, and I’m good with languages and spelling and grammar, but I’ve always been very immature, a late developer.

Anyway, I digress. I actually wanted to write about the future, or the next steps. I am about to complete this MA and I really don’t know where it’s going to lead. Potentially nowhere, which is a bit freaky really. I think the reason that’s possible is because I’ve never done study with a view to getting work. I was explaining this to a Walmart lady the other day, when she badgered me about applying for a credit card and I explained that I’m not eligible for a credit card because not only am I not a permanent resident of Canada, I also don’t have an income. She asked what I was studying and I explained and she asked where that leads career-wise. When I told her I wasn’t sure and that I’d never done any of my study with a view to getting a job, she was shocked. It was like it had never occurred to her that people did this. When she realised it was about happiness, she calmed down a bit and seemed to understand where I was coming from. But when I walked away, I realised I truly didn’t know what the hell was going to come of this degree, and that was because it was never what I really wanted to do. And what I really wanted to do, writing, was not what I got into. Because I haven’t shown myself to be good enough at it to warrant doing an MA. Italian, yes, I’m good at it, and this degree has been incredibly enjoyable and rewarding from a personal perspective, but I don’t want to do further study in Italian. I never wanted to do any study in Italian! Gosh that’s a hard thing to admit openly. But it’s true.

Regrets are a waste of time and I refuse to entertain them for even a moment. All I can do is look to the future, to where I want to be, and work towards that. It’s not Italian, and it’s not writing. I’d like to continue my editorial career in a freelance capacity, which will take discipline, and I think my study this past year has helped with building that. So that’s something. But as for my long term career, I’m not sure. Will it be teaching? I’m told I am good at that. I did a presentation a few weeks ago on King Lear and my fellow students all commented on the way I read the Shakespeare, how I engaged my audience. And I really enjoyed it. But teaching, that means I’m more like my mum than I’d like. That freaks me out. And teaching requires energy, giving of oneself. I don’t know if I have what it takes.

For now, I have less than a month left of classes before I finish this MA. So I’ll keep walking to my soundtrack, writing my snippets of stories, my to-do lists, my goals. One thing is certain: I will write a book one day soon.

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Up

For about twenty years now, I’ve been following the wonderful Up documentary series by Michael Apted. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a series of films made every seven years beginning in 1964. The films are made up of edited interviews with a group of people. In 1964, these people were seven years old, and there has been a film made every seven years since, at age 14, 21, 28, etc.  May 2012, marks the release of 56 Up; those kids are now 56.

Age 7, 14 and 21

When I first saw the series – probably at 35 Up – I was absolutely gobsmacked.  This sort of thing is right up my alley. It’s the ultimate form of real-life time-travel.  It captures moments, snapshots of life in a very poignant and raw way and I just find it fascinating.  Of course, not everyone agrees with me, especially those participating in the films.  I find it amazing just how bitter and angry some of them are about having been signed up to be in the films, and they feel so often that they’re misrepresented or that their privacy has been breached. Some don’t think the films are a good idea, not worth doing, and others feel that the films have been completely unsuccessful in their aim: to explore the idea put forth by the famous Jesuit motto (thanks Wikipedia!), “give me the child when he is seven and I will show you the man”. There is also a reference in the very first film 7 Up that the children in the film are the business executives of the year 2000, and these films are an attempt to get a snapshot of “Britain’s future”. I think they achieve this as far as possible given the restrictions of subjectivity and the limitations of the group. Obviously no two people are the same or representative of any one class or type of person, and what is spoken about is going to be swayed somewhat by the interviewer’s questions and the editing.

I try to think about how I would feel if I knew that every seven years I’d have to sit down and discuss my life for a few hours, perhaps a few hours over the course of weeks, allowing film crews into my living room or workplace or to accompany me on errands or holidays. I’m not sure if I’d consider it an invasion of privacy.

In fact, although it was on a much smaller scale, I already sort of did something like this:

No I’m not that blonde chick and that dude with her is not Mr Chewbacca.  Obviously there are other people profiled, but we’re in there if you can be bothered watching: me, Mr C and the Dude. So much of what was filmed was not shown, but we did have to let a guy with a camera into our house, both houses actually. I was shit at being interviewed, to be perfectly honest. I garbled, I couldn’t look at the guy (kept looking at the camera awkwardly), and was just nervous.  So I think the people on the Up series are pretty amazing, but I guess you get used to it after a while.

I have just watched the whole series again and have the most recent 56 Up left to watch. I am so excited to find out what has happened to each person, who has bowed out and who has chosen to tell it like it is. This series is something really special, the likes of which we may not see again, the ultimate in sociological commentary and investigation, and I for one am very grateful to Michael Apted and the participants for the great gift of insight.

My movie date with the Dude

Since before he was born, I’ve been planning to check out the mum and bub movie sessions, which are run weekly at my nearest cinema. Husband and I love going to the movies and have really missed it over the last 7 months.

The Dude, as you may already be aware, is a freaking full on baby. He doesn’t fall asleep alone, and in fact requires either walking in the ergo or similar, or booby in bed to fall asleep. I think he’s dropped off maybe three times ever without one of those elements, and he’s woken in a few minutes every time. So I’ve not had the guts to go to even the mum and bub cinema session as I know he’ll make such a fuss.

With the release of the latest Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 1, I decided to chance it and head along. Husband saw it the night before with work people and I’ve read the book so I figured I’d be able to follow it even if I have to attend to the Dude most of the way through.

Unfortunately, it’s a 10:15am session, which is perfect for most with young ones, as normal babies wake at the crack of dawn. Not my Dude; he sleeps in, sometimes til past 11am! So this morning I crept out of bed about 9, leaving him sleeping, and showered and dressed. When I came out of the shower he was still soundo, flat on his face, so I carefully adjusted his head so he could breathe. He kept sleeping. Typical. Every time I need him ready to go somewhere he won’t wake up! And when I need him asleep he just won’t go down! I got everything ready to leave, even cut his fingernails, but still he slept. Eventually, about 9:50, I just picked him up and headed out, whereupon he woke of course, but wasn’t totally with it. I made it into the carpark at 10:10 but wasn’t worried as I figured there’d be previews.

I didn’t rush, even bought a shitty cinema coffee and an ice-cream for breakfast (it was either that or a bag of M&Ms) and made it to my very big comfy seat with plenty of time to spare.

By this time, Dude was fully awake and doing his latest routine which involved bouncing up and down gleefully while saying “ngeng ngeng” over and over. He is too cute! The cinema was dark enough but with enough light to see what you’re doing and I had to navigate through a massive traffic jam of prams but that was easy enough with Dude in my trusty Ergobaby.

Most mums (and one dad) were sitting at or near the back, which made sense after a while as they had good access to the exit when bubs inevitably got grizzly. My seat was halfway down. Dude refused to be put on the floor for changing so I just left him in his ridiculously full nappy and propped him up on the seat next to me.

The movie started and it was soon obvious he was tired so I tried to feed him off to sleep but he wasn’t down with that plan and just had a few sips before really kicking off so no one could hear Edward and Bella’s wedding vows. I took him up the back and tried to rock him to sleep, following the example of a few other mums but he wasn’t having that either. Plus he is teetering on the brink of 10kg these days so he’s hard to hold consistently. Eventually I strapped him into the Ergo, hood straight up, and rocked for what seemed like about a quarter of the movie. Finally he slept!

I went back down to my seat and perched gingerly on the edge so as not to wake him. Then I ate my Magnum Caramel, wondering what the hell I’d been thinking buying an ice-cream to eat with a squirming baby! But it was all good in the end, he slept through the rest of the movie and I really enjoyed it. It was very heartening to see other mums working just as hard to get their babies to chill out. The Dude is loud and intense but he is still quite a typical baby in many ways.

I can’t wait for next Wednesday at 10:15, whatever the next movie is, for $8.50, I’m there!