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Monday, January 2, 2012

Best of 2011 by Jean Smith

1. Writing and editing an entire novel in the month of January as a reaction to losing my job and because the guy I was dating was too jealous to read any of my existing writing. I wrote a book for him. Excerpts of Obliterating History - a guitar making mystery, domination and submission in a small town garage can be found online (the thing with guy didn't work out).

1. a) As the years go by, I appreciate more and more that David's wife Wendy is helpful and supportive (instead of negative and jealous... see above).

2. Creating a stage adaptation to promote David Lester's graphic novel The Listener. Co-presenting events in book stores, libraries and classrooms, ending with a huge Indian buffet at the Bombay Palace near the airport in Toronto.

2. a) Monitoring the exciting reviews of The Listener as they rolled in.

3. Sharing Occupy Wall Street reports from musicians Rick Brown and Hamish Kilgour on Facebook. Intriguing new methods of agitation.

3. a) Being enthralled with Occupy as it began, grew and continues to change the way we understand the world.

3. b) Finding out that Occupy Wall Street originated at the Vancouver based anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters.

4. Borrowing my friend Duane's 1976 Ford camper van and going to Hornby Island for a week.

5. Taking my parents (ninety-one and eighty-six... ages, not names) for a walk in a special universally accessible pathway in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Later, we sat in the car and ate the sandwiches mom made.

6. Basically completing a second novel. The Black Dot Museum of Political Art is about the CIA tainting of abstract expressionism and the cure for narcissism.

7. Email exchanges with Brett of M'Lady Records. Exceptional. Promising.

8. Being included on Tobi Vail's Top Ten List in Artforum Magazine.

9. From April to August I dutifully underwent a series of tests that, as the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and someone labeled high risk, I have come to accept are part of the deal. Core biopsy, needle biopsies and finally, surgical biopsies with nearly a month delay in getting the results because the surgeon went on holidays. It was during that time that I borrowed the van and left town. Fuck waiting. Fuck cancer. It was that beautiful first week of September. I camped alone, made espresso on a hotplate, laughed, rode my bike in a floppy hat and sundress, swam in the sea and used the oven door in the van as a desk for the laptop, up early to write every morning. When I finally got the all clear, I jumped around a bit and then proceeded with the day as usual. Watching my mother go through a radical mastectomy when I was ten (she was fifty) set me on a course of cramming as much into life as possible. When, upon receiving the good news, all one really wants to do is get on with that day's writing, one knows one is on the right path.

9. a) Fuck allowing fear to fuck up one's life.

10. Knowing for sure that if something did go wrong, that I have for sure packed at least three lifetimes worth of everything into this amount of time already. In the latter part of 2011, savoring the excellence of being fifty-two years old without any problems what-so-ever, I took to telling people "I am happy." No touching of wood, no fear of jinxing it. I am happy.

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