Monday, November 17, 2008

Who what where when

in about 12 hours the second annual exposure festival will be half over.

it's a fantastic festival. loud and queer was a sellout; james loney was incredible (i blogged about it here); and i've just come in from screening the incredibly moving she's a boy i knew, by vancouver film whiz gwen haworth, also in attendance to field questions and comments from the audience. tomorrow we deck out the bathhouse with art for a one-night extravaganza that has buzz all over -- well, actually, all over the country: the rumour is that CBC is running the story nationally.

but i am tired.

i knew from last year that this week would be tough, but knowing is not the same as living fatigue. my days are peppered with paying artists' cab fares, chasing down films that don't arrive, finding a stepladder, troubleshooting stanchions, speaking to media (a special hell, for me -- remember, i don't like vacation snaps), and trying to keep everybody else's spirits up. over in another email account, i still have my day job to attend to, and i feel worryingly distant from my colleagues and students this week. dr zwicker, i wonder: who's that? if it weren't for ted's can-do and mo's just-don't, i don't think i'd be standing at 10pm this monday night.

how tired am i? going to a command-performance queer meet-and-greet this afternoon, i found myself sharing an elevator with a woman from the united way, heading to the same event. dammit, i thought, small talk 31 floors before i'm ready. i did what i always do in such circumstances, which is channel my sister, the fund development officer who can chat up anybody. as the elevator doors closed on us, i arranged a pleasant look on my face and said, "united way! november's a busy month for you, isn't it? one of your busiest, i think i've heard. barb, is it? let me introduce myself, i'm heather zwicker. i teach in the english department at the ufoa but this week i'm also the board chair for exposure, edmonton's queer arts and culture festival." she looked a bit uncomfortable, like she was trying to find the right words to say. quick: be chipper. what would shannon do? "it's a multidisciplinary arts and culture festival," i said, "and hasn't it been a fantastic week in edmonton? salman rushdie was here on thursday, and thomas king spoke at city hall on saturday -- oh, and the university mounted a historical production of orfeo on saturday, did you catch that? i didn't, i was actually giving a paper at the parkland conference, but i heard that it was stunning, and i'm sorry i couldn't have been two places at once, because the films they showed as part of the festival of ideas sounded just phenomenal." i smiled super-brightly, then paused to inhale. she seized her moment. "sorry to interrupt," said barb, reaching for the door open button, "but i think the elevator isn't moving." and indeed, there we were, right where we started. just tireder.


jen alabiso said...

oh sweetie - my good friend said to me sunday, when i melted into tears at the prospect of how dismally I would FAIL at just showing up this week "remember, how you used to tell me to breathe. in and out...just breathe."

my advice to you? Breathe. In and out. It feels pretty good, actually.

that, and let us all love and value you - because even tired, migrainous and worn down, even then, you find resources to bolster the rest of us.


Anonymous said...

i think i know the feeling: it's all so interesting you don't want to miss anything, and, yet, all you'd like to do is sleep... or maybe i'm only projecting :-).

TJ said...


I thought that you were being awesome at not trying to be super woman.

hang in there, for yourself and not for us.



Heather Zwicker said...

you are all too sweet, too sweet ... (and yes, margrit, it's *just* like that!)