quebec


Spectres of Yore | Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Like most other people, I sometimes catch myself thinking about what life - mine and others - would be like if I had made different decisions. I don't do so with regret or disappointment, but with genuine curiosity. There exists a theory that there are infinite other universes, and that new ones are created every instant with every possible outcome or decision branching out into a new universe or dimension of existence. This intrigues me, because somewhere out there could be multiple versions of me that never decided to get on that plane, never took that class, or never got that job. I would like to meet those alternate "me"s, talk to them, see how they are doing. I wonder whether future versions of myself would want to thank me, yell at me, or warn me. And what would I have to say to past versions of myself? What advice or warnings could I possibly give them without knowing what all the alternatives could be? This, of course, all boils down to the same armchair-philosopher question, the "Would you have done anything differently?" motivational posters that office workers hang in their cubicles. However, it remains a difficult question to answer.

The concept of regret is one I continuously try to distance myself from, as it is arguably the most useless emotion bestowed upon us by whichever cosmic entity you choose to believe - or not - in. Unlike fear, anger or greed, it doesn't motivate us. It doesn't provide the comfort and warmth that love or friendship do, nor can we learn from it the way we learn from pain or pleasure. All that regret can teach us is that we want to avoid it, because the emotional drain it can cause us is amplified by the fact that we cannot change the thing we are regretting - it's in the past. Until time ceases to be linear for us humans, that means that we are stuck regretting something that we can never change. That's an awfully unappealing prospect to most folks, but it's difficult to just flip a switch and decide to stop regretting something, at least it is for me. We use tired expressions like "Hindsight is 20/20" to make up for decisions which, in retrospect, may not have always been in our best interests or that of others. "It was the best I could do with the information I had at the time", we try telling ourselves. We conveniently forget that we are looking at our past selves through rose-colored glasses, and that we could indeed have maybe done things differently. We never call our hindsight 20/20 except when we think we've made a mistake. It's never something we say about the good choices we've made in life.


A day in Montreal, One | Thursday, February 4th, 2010

It was a Tuesday morning, a couple of weeks ago, and it was one of the most beautiful mornings I can remember so far this winter. As I walked to Le Dépanneur Café, the biggest snowflakes you've ever seen were lazily making their descent to the ground. L'Esplanade street was mostly deserted quiet except for me and the crunching of the snow beneath my Columbia boots. Four or five hours of work fly by me like doves until my good friend Elizabeth walks in.

Benoit, the owner, convinces us to buy the CD of his newest musical crush - Erin Lang. I went ahead and paid the paltry $10 for it, while Elizabeth contents herself with a green tea cupcake, also made by Erin Lang that morning. I took a bite. It was pretty good.

I sometimes wonder what parts of my life I'll look back on with fondness in my later years. We tend to morph, twist and deform places, people and things deep in the recesses of our memories, warping proportions and exaggerating emotions. Whenever I listen to Erin Lang, maybe I'll somehow manage to remember the day where giant snowflakes fell on the plateau only to be destroyed under the heel of my even giant-er boot, worked on my laptop for many many hours and ate a dozen green tea cupcakes.


Atwood backs Bloc on arts defence | Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Gilles Duceppe's defence of arts and culture has gained him a new fan — CanLit Queen Margaret Atwood.

Atwood said she went to hear the Bloc Québécois leader speak at a Bay Street business luncheon Friday because of his strong endorsement for the arts.

"I'm here because Mr. Duceppe understands the contribution that culture makes to our economy," she told CBC News at Toronto's Economic Club.

Asked whether she would vote for the Bloc if she lived in Quebec, Atwood gave a resounding: "Yes, absolutely. What is the alternative?"