Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Long View

After a four-day stint in Montreal (December 10-14), I returned to Sherbrooke feeling agitated and anxious. I was happy to be “home” and, at the same time, desperate to escape it. It was difficult to concentrate, stay still long enough to write or sit down at the piano and simply play instead of composing. I hummed and hawed and, before I knew it, I had made a reservation at my preferred Quebec City Hotel, Le Priori.

Saturday, December 17 was a cold but sunny day in Quebec City. A balmy -17°C, the wind cut through to the core. It was the first real blast of winter.

It didn’t take long, roaming around the city on foot, to remind me that Quebec City is a city of hills. Moving between the upper part of the city housing the majestic Chateau Frontenac and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) and the Bas-Ville, home to the Vieux Port, was a challenge. And by the end of the afternoon when I returned to my hotel room, I was exhausted. But there is something about walking about a city that is both foreign and familiar that calms, clears the mind — helps me, in any case, to get at the core of things.

Taking in the exhibition of Jean-Paul Riopelle’s works, I was reminded that I am in a unique place. I am still in a position to chase after my dreams, to not let myself be discouraged. There are no ties that bind me to where I currently reside (Sherbrooke, Québec), nothing holding me there like the nails that held Christ to the cross. I am free to do as I please, to remain in Sherbrooke and flourish where I am planted, or to pull up stakes and go somewhere new, “start all over again.” I’m not sure what I really want to do.

So I’m caught, feeling like my wheels are spinning, like I’m going nowhere fast. It’s a difficult feeling to manage, to get past. In the meantime, I’m trying to do the little things to keep moving forward — writing daily, putting in time at the piano. But I feel like nothing is moving forward, not my writing, not my music, not my painting. I’m stationary, immobile, inert. I repeat, “Easy Does It,” but it is hardly comforting this time around. I want to once again be wrapped up in the flow of life where I’m moving along swimmingly, feeling each project coming smoothly into itself.

I am currently in Halifax to spend Christmas with my sister and her family. I am trying to take it one day at a time, to not let myself be derailed again. Perhaps, when I am honest with myself, I just need to let myself rest, which is not something that I easily do. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Today, I will do my best ot just keep on keeping on.

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