Wednesday, November 12, 2008


You need to be reminded - repeatedly - that you have presents to open.

You can change a transformer from robot to airplane in three seconds flat.

Each morning at breakfast you say, remorsefully, "I'm sorry I dumped out the Special K," even though that was, like, two days ago.

Happy birthday, sweet boy. Don't fly away from me too soon.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Nature's First Hue

After a few months of tweaking all the knick-knacks in my new house, I have a developed an increasingly simple decorating philosophy:

1) Figure out what makes you happy.
2) Put it everywhere.

Any questions?

Monday, November 03, 2008


My new favourite Shakespeare heroine is Emilia from Othello. While poor Desdemona spends her dying breath refusing to speak a word against her husband, Emilia starts talking and doesn't stop. All through Act V she blisters the men with her tongue, raking Othello over the coals for mistreating his wife and exposing Iago's evil schemes while he splutters things like, "Go to!" and "Zounds, hold your peace!"

"I peace?" Emilia retorts, "No, I will speak as liberal as the north. / Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, / All, all cry shame against me, yet I'll speak."

Emilia is a truth-teller - she blazes with the truth that is burning on her tongue. At the end of the play she lies dead on the bed alongside Desdemona and Othello - but her words have torn down the whole edifice of Iago's deception and set the world to rights again.

Anne of Green Gables is another truth-teller. She believes God might be more interested in Superintendent Bell's prayers if he would just spice them up a bit. She tells Mrs. Rachel Lynde - to her face - that she's fat, ugly, and rude.

Of course, Mrs. Rachel is a truth-teller herself, a woman who prides herself on speaking her mind, but she is the more conventional kind of truth-teller - the kind for whom telling the truth is a thinly veiled excuse for gossiping, interfering, and bossing people around. The most powerful truth-tellers, the ones whose freedom radiates from them most visibly, are the ones whose truth is something more than mere malice.

In The Blue Castle, Valancy Stirling becomes a truth-teller when a doctor informs her she has less than a year to live. Freed from a lifetime of kowtowing to her many aunts and uncles, Valancy starts to operate without an interior monologue, saying whatever comes into her head. To be sure, some of the things she has to say aren't very nice: she accuses her relatives of being evil-minded gossips and makes an unflattering allusion to the number of Aunt Isabel's chins. But my favourite remarks are her random observations: "'People who don't like cats,' said Valancy, attacking her dessert with a relish, 'always seem to think there is some particular virtue in not liking them.'"

If you could switch off your inner censor - if you really didn't care what other people think - what would you say?