Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️ In my team meeting this morning I found myself doodling hearts, thinking about friends and skating and going home to Ottawa this week – of love, and how the day feels when you’re single, past and future loves, of the other meaning to this day “V-Day”, created by Eve Ensler, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. ‘V’ stands for Voices, Victory, Valentine, and Vagina. Love in its many forms. Love as a movement.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of the couple that lives next door arguing. I covered my ears, asked Google to play the sounds of the ocean, but I could still hear the woman’s tearful voice and a low male voice, and so I listened to music until I fell asleep. I wanted to bang on the wall but it’s concrete and I doubt they would’ve heard! Maybe I’ll mention it to them when I run into them in the hall (probably not).

It was interesting that it was the arguing that woke me up, because I thought it would be fitful sleep after watching the first episode of ‘The Turning Point’, a docuseries about 9/11. I was in Seattle working at Microsoft on a co-op term when it happened – fast asleep since it was 6 AM there (3 hours behind New York time), and I woke up to the phone ringing – it was my Dad asking if I’d turned on the TV yet. I said no and then I went to turn it on, seeing footage of the planes crashing into the buildings in a way that made you both glued to the scene and wanting to close your eyes. I made it to work, and no one worked… we were all glued to the TV in the lounge area. Across from the lounge was a kitchen, stacked with free drinks – I remember Microsoft used to provide dinners and bagels for breakfast, and fridges stacked with free snacks and drinks – perhaps a way to keep you so comfortable at work that you never wanted to leave.

And then life seemed to go on, all of us linked by this collective trauma, knowing that the world would never exactly be the same again. A colleague asked me an odd question at lunch – “How is this affecting you, being of your background?” or something to that effect. I was angry, not sure what he was implying, and then suddenly my body was in pain and I went home – I thought it was health related, but now looking back, it was obviously distress.

The turning point in creative writing is the point in a story where there is a twist, a heightened sense of anticipation, where all context changes, and the events that happen before and after are framed by this one event. Which is what September 11th was. Which is what the pandemic will be as well – once we get some distance from it, we’ll be able to reflect and assess its meaning, and hopefully become wiser and more aware of what’s really important, and more prepared for future catastrophes (hopefully no more in our lifetime).

There was an extreme cold weather alert today so I didn’t make it to skating at the Bentway. It closes in a week so I’m hoping to get a couple skating sessions in this week! It’s really the best ice in the city, and so relaxing gliding along, with a view of the CN tower and the sunset. Interspersed throughout the skate trail is an exhibit called Moving with Joy which showcases seven hand-made sleds built by local Inuvialuit families. Gliding along, you do really feel like joy is guiding your way.

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