Enamoured

SUBMISSION FOR MEMOIR CLASS:

Is it possible that you can become enamoured with a fictional character? The answer’s probably yes, but I think it’s crazy and weird to be in love with someone who doesn’t even exist. But I suppose that’s a writer speaking about a character that’s been developed over a decade, and can’t help but fall in love with.

That’s the way I feel about the lead character in my latest novel. Yes, he doesn’t exist except in my imagination, but working on developing his character for over ten years, well, it’s hard not to fall in love with the guy that you’ve created as Mr. Perfect, and Mr. Perfect for someone else.

He’s been through hell – losing his family and suffering physically, psychologically, and emotionally. He tries to pick up the pieces and start over, but he just can’t. He’s lost everything, and it’s awful that such a sweet, caring selfless guy has to go through so much. But this is what makes his character unique – it’s what makes him himself. He would cease to exist without all of the trauma he’s suffered…and yet he’s a doctor. It might sound ironic, but bad s*** can happen to good people, and that’s just the way life goes. And developing his character, especially as he tries to cope with everything, makes me love him that much more.

He is a hero. He is a fighter, or as his friend calls him in Hebrew, lochem. He is an inspiration, and I’m enamoured with him.

His name is Eli.

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Say

SUBMISSION FOR MEMOIR CLASS:

When I read the prompt for this piece, I immediately thought of the John Mayer song “Say.”

[Insert lyrics here]

Of course, putting those lyrics in here would be cheating, although they really ring true to this piece.

Sometimes it’s hard for someone to say something they really need to say at a given time, and it always seems to be that the right thing to say always comes to that person well after the fact. As they say, hindsight’s a bitch, and it really is from time to time. So many times I’ve been stuck on saying something that I want to or need to say, and it always hits me afterwards what I really should have said. It’s always hard because what you need to say sometimes never comes out when you want it to. The words either get lost somewhere between your brain and your mouth, or they’re on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t say it.

Wait, where was I going with this? What was I trying to say?

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Nothing

SUBMISSION FOR MEMOIR CLASS:

We’ve all had those days where absolutely everything goes wrong – nothing works or something happens that screws up even the best-laid plans.

Last year, there was a day where whatever could go wrong, did go wrong. The car broke down, so I had to take the bus to school. The bus was running behind, so I was late for class, and because I was frazzled about being late for class, I’d forgotten my essay on my desk. So, of course, when I handed it in the next day, it’d already been docked 5%. Then there was a pop quiz in another class that I totally wasn’t prepared for, and I left the class knowing I’d bombed it. Then there’s the crappy wet-snow weather as I trudged from the main campus over to East Academic and back…and wiping out on a patch of black ice, right onto my backside. Surely it was amusing for the others who saw it, but I had to sit on a sore butt for the rest of the day. When I get home, the Internet’s down because of the weather, so I can’t do my homework for the next day, and the work I could do without the Internet…it failed because the printer stopped working, so I couldn’t even print off my finished essay.

That’s Murphy’s Law apparently – when anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And it’s on awful days like this one described above that I shake a mental fist at Murphy and his goddamned law.

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Happy

SUBMISSION FOR MEMOIR CLASS:

It’s difficult to decide on the absolute happiest moment of my life. In the twenty-seven years of my existence, how can I possibly choose the moment that made me the most happy? There was an event that happened two years ago that made me really happy, but I don’t think I can classify it as the absolute happiest moment of my life. But I’ll give it a try anyway.

I was a member of the Hamilton Police Pipe Band, and the band was at the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville, Ontario. And this was no ordinary games – it’s the North American Championships, the most prestigious pipe band event in North America, and probably second in the world only to the Worlds in Scotland. There are both band competitions as well as solo events. That summer, I chose to do Professional Bass solos, and I only signed up to compete at the Championships, instead of all the other games throughout the season. When I checked the order of play a week before the event (and when entries closed), I saw that I was competing against one of the best players in the world. I knew right away I didn’t stand a chance against this guy, but I couldn’t exactly back out, either. I’d paid to compete and to back out would just be cowardly and stupid. So, being the only girl amongst guys, and guys who had years of playing bass, compared to me who only had about two with no real training, I went out and played. Of course, I always get performance anxiety and I was panicking for days leading up to this event. The actual day was even worse. I knew I was probably going to get spanked (figuratively) by all these better, more experienced players. When I finished playing, I thought it went well, and I was hoping to maybe get third or, if I was really lucky, second.

And then I went to get the results.

When I saw my score sheet, I just about fainted on the spot. I even asked the person at the tent if the results were right, and she said they most definitely were.

I’d won.

I was torn between “WTF” moments, and “How the hell did that happen?!?”

No one could believe it, and even to this day, I can’t either.

That moment was definitely one of the happiest for me, not because I’d beaten one of the the best bass drummers in the world, and a handful of others who were way better than me, but because I’d actually gone with it. I’d stuck it out. I didn’t back down. I went and played the best I’ve probably ever played in the eight years I’ve been in pipe bands.

It was a wonderful moment for me, and I’m not going to forget it in a hurry.

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Plain

SUBMISSION FOR MEMOIR CLASS:

Someone who was a true teacher for me was my high school music teacher, Mr. Hebert. I had him in my last year of high school – what was then (and still is, apparently) known as 12B. To say he was “just a teacher” is such an understatement of what he was to me – he was an inspiration. I was a very self-conscious person in high school – I didn’t go to any of the social events, or participated in any of the clubs or extra-curriculars.

Until I met “Mr. H.”

He knew how shy I was, and yet he encouraged me and made me see the strengths that I had, both musically and personally. I became a member of the school’s band and choir because of him. I developed musically because of him. I did other extra-curriculars because of him.

He truly brought out the best in me – he brought me out of my shell. If he hadn’t done that, I sure wouldn’t be in university right now, because I wouldn’t have been able to handle the social aspect of being a university student, nor would I be able to cope with the overwhelming expectations set on me in every single class.

Every day, I’m so grateful for everything he taught me, and not just academically, either. He taught me how to be less socially-awkward (and really, how can you teach someone that? It’s a gift, that’s for sure), how to see both my strengths and weaknesses, and how to improve myself, especially personally. For me, he really wasn’t just a teacher – he was more of a life coach.

I wish there was some way I could thank him for everything he did, because he truly was one of the greatest, motivating, inspirational people I’ve ever had the fortune to meet.

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Pictoral Assignment

Never did I think I’d see a gorgeous sunrise in my lifetime. Then the opportunity presented itself at a horse show, and a friend was able to capture this moment for me.

Just looking at this picture brings back so many memories of that day last fall – some things I remember better than others, such as the sights, sounds and smells, rather than other details. It was early in the morning, 5 a.m., and it was still dark outside. Horses were nickering and whinnying in the two barns, some were kicking their doors demanding their morning grain, and grooms and volunteers were filling water buckets and running between the two barns to prepare horses for the warm-ups which were to begin at 7:30. The smells were various, but distinct: the pungent odour of manure, the sweet scent of hay, the tangy smell of diesel from the tractor moving round bales of hay, the damp scent weighing down the air, promising another round of rain, and the slop and sucking of horses, grooms, and horse handlers trudging through the thick mud to keep the horses warm, walking them around.

The horse that was my responsibility to look after that day, Shadrach, was given his breakfast after being shipped in to the farm that morning, and while he ate, I groomed and tacked him up. Once he was ready, I was to walk him outside until a warm-up rider came to take him over the first course of jumps. And that was when the sun began to rise over the tree line, and it was one of the most beautiful, breathtaking sights I’ve ever seen. It was the perfect moment: seeing the sun rise at a place that feels like a second home to me – the horse farm. I was fortunate the photographer that day was able to capture this moment for me, because seeing the picture now brings back so many emotions and memories…it’s a moment that I’ll never forget.

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What’s In Front Of You

SUBMISSION FOR MEMOIR CLASS:

What’s in front of me? “Old Friend From Far Away,” Brock’s Student Handbook opened to this week’s readings and assignments, two other textbooks, “Maus I,” readings for my Lit class, a grey pencil case, a blue highlighter, a red pen, a multivitamin I still haven’t taken yet, a holder overflowing with pens and pencils, a green paperweight, a bowl of salad, a bowl of tomato soup I haven’t finished eating yet, a mug of tea and meds to help with the flu I’ve gotten in the past two days, my unplugged printer, my iPod docking station which is currently playing Pitbull’s “Blanco,” a glass of water with ¼ water left in it, a Arabian horse calendar hanging on the wall, four shelves of DVDs, a painting of Jesus on a card, headphones for my iPod, three horse show ribbons hanging on the wall with my lucky horseshoe hanging next to them, a menu for Sushi Ai, a holder with a ton of CDs in them, my tartan purse on the floor next to me, my runners untied and damp from walking in the rain earlier, a box of Kleenex with light bulbs printed on the box, my cell phone, my alarm clock, my bed behind me (unmade, as usual), open curtains, a garbage can overflowing with used Kleenexes, a power bar on the floor at my feet, with plugs for my clock, laptop charger, desk lamp, iPod docking station, printer, and cell phone charger.

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