Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Poems, plays, and prose

TUESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2012

Poems, plays, and prose

This is copied from original blog.  I had too many problems with it, so I'm moving posts here.
Hi.  I’m Stephanie.
I’m not a poet.  I’m not a writer.  
Thanks to my mom, I was immersed in the arts while growing up - theatre, free concerts in the park (big band was my favourite, but that was my dad’s influence), art galleries.  I was on stage when I was 11, in the children’s chorus in “Fanny”.  Yea - I still haven’t heard it being produced since. I grew up hearing my mom talk about seeing Christopher Plummer in Romeo and Juliet at Stratford (Ontario). However, due to his great acting, I didn’t know he was Canadian until I was about 20. Still, going to Stratford at all seemed like the pinacle of theatre.  
I was a fine student, in high school; a better than average student in University where I received my BA in History and Native Studies.  (I’m part-Mohawk…other part French Canadian). It was the editing of my essays which did me in. I love research and I loved (well, let’s be honest, who really loves doing all of their readings for school) the readings, and participated well in our small group tutorials (classes of 10 in 4th year were incredible).  I was offered to get one of my final papers published, but, I was about to get married, and didn’t want to edit it again.  I regret that.  A lot. To be a published author, even if it is in a very small market of Aboriginal Studies…sigh
Ten years as a stay-at-home mom to my 3 boys, and then Cordelia, I went back to school and became an Aboriginal Midwife.  Four years after that, I passed my Lactation Consultant exam (this past October).  I swore off full time studies for a long, long time.
During the past four years, since I’ve been working, I’ve been attending Stratford, at least one show a year.  This past year, it was more than that due to my lucky and fortunate place amongst the Stratford Tweet Club. I’ll be posting more about that as time goes on.  It was my escape….
Two years ago, I read, “In Spite of Myself,” by Christopher Plummer.  I used to tell my co-workers I was having my date with Christopher, take his book, and read it in my vehicle during the heat of the summer.  For about a month, the book didn’t leave my side.  It was in my office when I was called away, almost last minute, to assist at a birth.  It was with me during many breastfeeding classes.  It was with me at home, while hubby was having bipolar episodes.  It was with me, in a massive thunderstorm, during the Six Nations Champion of Champions Pow Wow.  My tent was almost blown over.  I saw many old clients (midwifery and breastfeeding), made new ones.  I wonder how Mr. Plummer would feel if he knew how many pairs of breasts his book has been around?
I was lucky to have the book inscribed by Mr. Plummer, after a performance of “The Tempest”.  It was well-read.  Mr. Plummer, in all honesty, did not look quite impressed with it being worn, when most of his other fans were bringing brand new hard covers from the Theatre Store for him to sign. I explained about my dates with Christopher which made him laugh.  Being a previous King Lear (and my daughter’s reason for naming - Shakespeare, not him) I asked him to inscribe it to my Cordelia.  The reasons were many, but I had to hear Lear say Cordelia. She and Dakota, my oldest, were with me when I met him.  I hope they pass the story onto their children, too.  Dakota also saw the Tempest with me that year, and we were at a taping of it.  Another story for another time.
The book also survived our house fire: wet and mouldy, but still, it survived.
As I read the memoir the first time, I remember thinking how absolutely pitiful my english literature education had been to that time.  Although, I will mention that I had heard of some of the authors mentioned, most came out of left field. But, where does one hear of all those plays if not a drama major?  Or an English Lit major?  I took a Victorian Era english class at Trent University but it, um, was not the romantic class I had envisioned.  Plus, my prof was (a) Dick, and he allowed us to call him so (he preferred Dick to Richard).
I put getting my English Lit degree on my bucketlist last year, after reading the memoir.  I slowly realized I could not wait that long to complete that goal.  I thought about just attending English courses at McMaster, but that’s an hour’s drive, plus the parking fees. 
This week, I had an epiphany.  I decided to use “In Spite of Myself,” as a textbook of great literature.  As I read it, I will look up all literary quotes mentioned and, hopefully, read them in their entirety.  It will be my personalized english literature degree.
I hope anyone who comes across this blog will be inspired to read and become immersed in the poems, plays, and prose I will be reading and discussing, thanks to Mr. Plummer’s book.  I don’t know how often I will be posting but please, bring your own ideas of what I’m reading and let’s discuss. Words can be misunderstood or understood a myriad of ways.  They can mean different things at different times in our lives.
My nose will appreciate a new copy of the book this year (from the fire, I have a difficult time stomaching the smell of smoke and mould), but this book holds far too many memories to hide in an attic.  Yet.
Steph