For the last few months of 2011, I developed a Friday routine: finish work, walk across the Victoria Bridge, and stop for dinner at the street vendors set up at the top of the Queen Street Mall. There were only a handful of options available, but they were pretty damn good options: a place offering German sausages with sauerkraut; a place that did a mighty fine steamed BBQ pork bun; a couple who produced some of the weirdest and tastiest cinnamon donuts I’ve ever tasted (and, for bonus points, the damn things were the size of my head).
Then Christmas happened, and New Years, and there were a few weeks where I didn’t go to work, and by the time all that had passed there weren’t any food vendors at the top of Queen Street Mall on a Friday evening and I started picking up cheap take-out before doing some Friday Night Shopping. Which isn’t a bad plan, by any means, but it’s not quite the same as buying food on the street that’s generally cheaper and tastier than the stuff I’d pick out when wondering past fast-food joints lined up side by side. More importantly, buying food from street vendors rarely results in me ordering a coke, and that isn’t a bad thing in the long run.
Which is a long way of saying I missed the damn ritual, once it went away.
And why I’m feeling particularly content today, after discovering the food vendors had made their return. If I’d been thinking, I would have taken a photograph.
There’s something nice about being able to re-establish this particular Friday ritual, especially this week when the dayjob has been full of mildly frustrating moments and next week promises to be more of the same. I’m a little bit cheerier now that I’ve feasted on Krasnky sausage on a sourdough roll that’s filled with spicy mustard and sauerkraut, and more importantly I feel ready to take on the weekend and belt out a bunch of words.
In other news, there’s been a rather curious spate of blogging around these parts, and a sudden resurgence in regular writing practice. One would almost wonder whether such things are related.
Yesterday I fired up Last.FM for the first time since my old computer died back in March of 2009. I’m not precisely sure why it took me this long to get around to reloading the scrobbler onto my machine, since I’m actually rather fond of Last.fm and its ability to track my music-listening habits, but at the same time it’s rather fascinating to see a snapshot of my musical tastes from three years ago.
For instance, I knew I went through a somewhat obsessive Neko Case period a few years ago, but I was rather surprised to discover that I’d listened to Knock Loud more often than any other song. It makes a kind of sense, ’cause I can certainly see it happening, which is more than I can say for my second most listened to song, Fiona Apple’s Not About Love. I mean, I like Fiona Apple and all, but I don’t really remember going through a Fiona Apple phase where I spammed the song repetitively.
On the other hand, the listing of top artists that I listened to seems just about right for my memories of 2009, and they’re all in the order I remember them: far to much Nick Cave, a lot of Neko Case and The Mountain Goats, some more Nick Cave, and the rest is all Nouvelle Vague and Regina Spektor and the Dresden Dolls.
Most of that changed in 2010. Everything except the Dresden Dolls, I think, although I could just be conflating the repeated playing of Amanda Palmer’s first solo album into a Dresden Doll-like homogeneous ball, which is probably slightly unfair. And I’m pretty sure I spent most of the period from June 2010 until June 2011 subsisting on the same six albums. 2009 through 2011 were very much a period where my life shrank, in many respects, and I’m only just starting to stretch and shake off the slough that accumulated around that time.
In any case, I’m back on Last.fm, which is one of those tangential social sights like Goodreads that I spend a moderate amount of time on and am happy to friend people on, should I know there there. My ID, as always, is hidden behind the cunningly cryptic handle of PeterMBall, just to throw people off the scent, but you could probably track me down without too much difficulty. I promise I’ll check out what you’re listening to from time to time. Not constantly, cause that’d be creepy, but I’m genuinely curious about that sort of thing.
Something I’m thinking about this evening.
Several years ago started writing a story for a girlfriend, who briefly became a fiancée, then an ex-girlfriend when the process of organising a wedding really highlighted that we weren’t really all that compatible as a couple. I didn’t end up finishing the story until after we separated, but I got there eventually and gave it to her as a Christmas present one year. It was a story about cats and camping and ghosts, and it’s one of the few stories I’ve written that I never actually attempted to get published, partially because it was a present and partially because it ended up being a bit of a pastiche of a Neil Gaiman story and there wasn’t really much point.
I came across a print-out of it when I was moving and set it aside to re-read. It wasn’t as bad as I remembered it.
Which is not to say that I’m going to try and get it published, although I did consider that for a few minutes before I set the idea aside. It’s not there yet, not quite, but it could be a with a little work. Or a lot of work, depending, and I’m not really interested in finding out which. Part of me also likes the idea that there’s a story out there that’s just going to be there, a secret between me and someone I used to care about a great deal.
But it reminded me that I rather like writing stories for people, although I don’t do it that often, largely because it’s one of those things that can be taken…awkwardly… when it’s done without warning. And partially because I’m slooooooow when it comes to producing stories. Drafts may be done fast, or parts of drafts, but the finished product takes forever. And partially, if I can have another partially, because writing stories for people is a very different thing to writing stories for publication and it changes the way you write.
Still, it was something worth thinking about, and I decided I wanted to do it more, so I’m going to make an offer.
Leave a comment in this post asking for a story, with your email address, and I’ll write one. I make no promises regarding the time-frame, nor the content, nor the quality of the finished work when it’s finally done, but at some point in the future I will send you an email with a story written, more or less, with you in mind as the intended reader.
It’s an open invitation – it doesn’t really matter if I know you well or not – and it’ll come with a handful of caveats regarding me retaining copyright of the work and you not publishing it for public consumption without my permission and generally promising not to do anything with the story that’ll make me regret having done this sort of thing. I’m not really planning on doing anything commercial with the results of this – odds are they’ll end up being published here on my site as a project under creative commons, since I’m mostly doing this for fun – but I figure that’s a decision that’ll be made once I’ve put said stories together and decided whether they’re the sort of thing I’m willing to share with the world.
In return I promise not to use your email address for nefarious purposes like selling it spam merchants or signing you up to email lists without your knowledge. It’ll primarily be used for the delivery of your story, and occasionally for email if we know one another well enough for me to email you things, and that’s about it. Should you not be fan of putting your email address on the internets, feel free to use my contact email (found here) and send it through privately.