Friday, June 27, 2008


Most of the day I spend chilled. Chilled by the many megawatts of energy it takes to push too-cold air through a vent installed amid the tastefully-beige ceiling panels. The massive and expensive system of vents, shafts and pipes that snakes around within my multi-story office building always succeeds in leaving us too cold or too hot, with too much of a draft or no oxygen at all. Conversation around the lunch room and in the elevator circles around this obsession.

“Too cold.” “Much too cold.” “Too stuffy.” “Too warm.”

It’s fascinating.

Add to the steady drop in temperature the comfort of padded cubicle walls that glow in a neutral shade of gold, the odd gleam of overhead fluorescent lights, the bizarre caffeine buzz of back-to-back cups of coffee (to ward off the chill), and the flickering hearth of my computer screen, and I begin to feel like I spend much of my weekdays in some alternate universe.

I speak of office-land. There are millions of us here. Inhabiting a synthetic environment. Piped air. Buzzing lights. Plastic and polyester walls. Water from machines. Coffee from machines. Tea – if you believe it – from machines (my mother would be apalled).

I’ve been craving a return to the “real” recently.

This craving has been expressed in some fairly predictable ways: a rant or two about consumerism (usually while I shop), a wistful desire to move to the middle of no where and re-learn how to farm, a sudden conviction that my true calling in life is to open a bakery, a following conviction that my true calling in life is to open a flower shop, a scouring of the net to find community veggie gardens in Vancouver, an urge to adopt many children (a la Brangelina) and bake them all bread. (Yes, my boyfriend is scared).

However, I think my disenchantment with an artificial environment is just a surface hint of a much deeper concern with my (and, I think, our) detachment from what I’m coming to think of as “alive life.” Life that is honest and genuine and anything but generic. Life that admits discomfort, joy, uncertainty, uniqueness, love, strangeness, creativity, grief. This goes far beyond the “I choose to eat organic, wear hemp, and ride a bike” stance (which is itself becoming yet another stereotypical identity to conform to and identify with). And that’s where my little blossoming romance with Julia Kristeva comes in.

But I’ll leave her for next time...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Theory and Life...

"For an heretical perhaps no more than that which in life makes bonds, thoughts, and therefore the thought of death, bearable: herethics is undeath [a-mort]; love."

- Julia Kristeva

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

On Vocation

"Every day I say to myself, today I will begin."

St. Anthony of the Desert