Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On Fatigue, Writing, and the 2011 Federal Election Campaign

When I went to bed last night, I think that I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. Since I decided to move, I had been running nonstop. In the days leading up to the move, I made more visits to Canac Marquis, a local hardware store, than I did to the neighbourhood coffee shop. The days were long painting, packing boxes and carting them to the new place and unpacking. It was cyclic. And exhausting.

But I kept on going. I stole time to write while wet paint dried, and when I needed a break from packing and unpacking boxes. When a nasty cold tackled my body, I kept on going, and going … but not nearly as long as the Energizer Bunny.

Why is it that when my body says, “Slow down,” I ramp it up more? It’s a difficult thing, learning to listen to my body. It takes reaching the point of feeling completely exhausted, burned out, for me to slow down.

So I am doing exactly that. I am slowing down.

And by slowing down, I mean that today I got in a fairly good writing session. Moving meant less time for writing, and I felt as though I wasn’t moving forward fast enough on the rewrite of a manuscript. Today was about getting back in the saddle, getting back to my writing routine.

Today was also about rest, taking it easy … trying not to push myself too hard.

And that gave me time to also catch up on current affairs. I’ve been half-tuned in, half-tuned out to the federal election campaign. I considered myself to be a decided voter when the election began. Watching the NDP surge in Quebec, I'm re-evaluating the options. There's a chance to reshape the political landscape here in Quebec, and in other parts of the country. That's not something to be ignored.

Up until the 2008 election (when Stéphane Dion was leader of the Liberal Party of Canada), I voted, blindly, Liberal because I am most often in the centre, sometimes leaning to the right sometimes to the left of the political spectrum. I believe in universal healthcare, bilingualism, multiculturalism — in a nation where we trumpet the common values that bring us together, demonstrate what we can accomplish as a country together. I believe that, since 2006, partisan politics have had too much play, and that our current Prime Minister has done more to divide than unite this country. I don’t see Canada’s bright light shining on the world.

I believe in the Liberal pledge: “a government that respects our democracy and strengthens equal opportunity for every man, woman and child in this incredible country. When each of us gets a chance to succeed, we all succeed together.” And now living in Quebec, I don’t want to see the constitutional question revisited. And while I believe that promise by Jack Layton is a quagmire through which I don’t believe anyone seriously running to be Prime Minister would care to tread, perhaps it's time to step out on faith and see if there's a way to do things different, politically, in this country. I'm not sure.

All this to say, on May 2, I will get out and vote. I hope you will do the same.

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