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pumpkin lovewell i’m gonna tell you some things that you know and some things that you don’t. and yes, this is how i start my blog posts these days, with generalized assertions of nothingness. it is hot in vancouver lately and i gotta say, i stupid love it. it makes me miss the hot-thigh-sweatiness of humid summers in ottawa a little less. but it doesn’t make me miss the beer-soaked-afternoons-on-a patio-in-the-market any less, i must say. this means nothing to those of you who haven’t spent a canada day in an ottawa mob painted red. looking for your top.

anyhoo.

i am still in the thick of a summer of teaching and all i know – amidst piles of marking – is i love it. even when its too much. even when there is more to do than can seemingly be done. i also love camping – i know, wtf, eh? – and the new plants decorating my previously barren balcony. summer makes me happy. but it flies like nobody’s business.

i don’t want to get into an esoteric discussion about the brevity of time or life or joy because honestly, blogs aren’t really suppose to be all life-y and preachiness (according to me, the apparently judgey thoughtful spaz). but recent life events – illness in my family, the epiphany about teaching as key for me, and a milestone anniversary make me think about something a family member said to me in recent weeks about how life goes by so fast. i hadn’t seen this family member in roughly 9 nines, so it was an illustrative example of his point. last i’d seen him we were kids, poking the eyes out of fish and wrapping them up as presents for our mothers (sweet, i know). well, maybe not that long ago. but we were certainly awkward teens. and now we’re what are commonly referred to as adults replete with furry kids (cats all around), homes, and “real lives.” he was sharing sage advice from his father who’d said to him simply that it all goes by too fast. and it does. if we let it. we consistently forget as a people i think, that we can make our lives however we chose (that is, if we are privileged enough to make more than constrained choices in the world).

alls i’m saying folks, in an unoriginal sort of way, is that maybe, just maybe, all life is is texting love notes to t-bone with pumpkin scone icing fingers after class on a hot vancouver day.

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i am officially ridiculously excited about northern voice 2008! as i presenter, and an attendee, i get to do fabulous things like attend the kick-off dinner and meet super cool bloggers (in case you didn’t know, blogging the coolest thing ever. EVER). i am especially excited about going this year as an actual blogger and not just as a pseudo-techno-genius. we even get to read our favourite blog entry at an open mic held at the dinner. super coolness.

i have a request for my dear blog readers – will you vote for your favourite of my blog posts so i can bring it along to read? much thanks and appreciation (i may, of course, elect to ignore any suggestions that are 1) embarrassing, and 2) embarrassing). your interactive participation is greatly appreciated and it makes me feel loved and the like. so in the spirit of pre-day v-day love, VOTE!

speaking of valentine’s day, i have a few things to say. one is that, on the facebook status recommendation of a friend, i went to see ang lee’s new film lust, caution. i kinda adored it in its heart-wrenching, in-appropriate love kinda way. like brokeback, it was unbelievably beautiful as a visual experience, and as a story of compelling characters (the lead woman, wei tang, actually acts more through facial expression than words – a feat in and of itself) who have achingly uncomfortable interactions, both physically and emotionally, it was breath-taking. unconventional love is lee’s forte and i love it. love. it. can i have a job as a film critic now? please?

speaking of “unconventional” love, i am particularly excited about speaking at NV 2008 about online dating after valentine’s day. my hope is not only to adequately transform my work into something that a non-academic audience cares about and finds relevant, but also try to transfer what i have learned through my research into practical advice. that advice is going to centre around three mains themes methinks: what to expect if you have not online dated before; how to stay motivated to continue the “work” that inevitably comes with pursuing dates online (and how this is differently “gendered,” that is, how it is different kinds of work for men and women seeking heterosexual relationships); and what the “dos” and “don’ts” are for both men and women. sounds fun, no?

finally, i am super excited and intensely privileged to be spending another v-day with my love without whom, i’d not know how much love is akin to true happiness and joy.

and i swear to god, if anyone says anything about v-day being about hallmark cards, i’ll die.

seriously.


despite my blog title alluding to hatred, i actually love lots o’ stuff. i love cats, beer (and how i wish i didn’t!), teaching, learning, reading, walking, EATING, christmas (holidays in general), my family, my friends, my love, and love itself. yup. i love love. lots. it explains why i tangentially study love – dating is meant to lead to love, no? – and why i while away countless hours talking to my friends and loved ones about love. i have come to wonder about how love exists in degrees as well as in ways i don’t fully understand. there is love that is really fear of loss. love that is jealous. love that is new. fresh. shiny. there is lasting love, love that is fleeting, and love that is so sweet it makes your teeths hurt.

love is often perceived as a mystery. an elusive and wispy creature that strikes at a moments notice. when you least expect it. when it rears its head and emerges surprisingly, “at first sight.” love is constructed as fragile, easily lost, hard to capture. what function does this notion of love have? is it a moral tale: those that are nice, kind, willing, able deserve love? to get love, you must give love? to be unloved is to be nothing. to be lonely. to be somehow undeserving. or is it a tale that neatly sets us up in institutions of marriage. of bondage. of cycles of unproductive reproductivity? or is it a fairy tale? a non-existent make believe that invades our imaginations and limits our own creativity. narrows our view of possibilities. perverts our gaze. none of the above i say! because i am a love loving unromantic. non-romantic. anti-mantic.

i think love causes us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise. makes us feel compelled to emote. and emote lots. i am a believer in listening to what love tells you to do without succumbing to fantasies of utter fulfillment. perfection. or mistake the fleeting love of the beginning for what must always be.

i am often asked if i believe in soulmates. soulmates are another pervasive theme in my research as many of my research participants are motivated to online date in order to facilitate a faster, more efficient, route to their soulmate. and the honest answer, is yes. i believe in soulmates. but i don’t believe you find your soulmate all packaged and clean off the shelf and ready-to-go. i think you find your soulmate like you find your favourite sweater. the perfect pet. your favourite spot on earth. or maybe it/they/he/she finds you. maybe love is a fiction. a fantasy. a pre-fab house. fake. unstable in hurricanes. not so fire-retardant. but i don’t think so. what is lost by believing in love? what is gained by resisting it?

if i put my feminist hat on, i could say many things about what is gained by resisting love. total independence. lots of time not spent on emotional labour. lots of money saved on fluffy wedding dresses and expensive catered meals. but i think, even as feminists, we can imagine a love that doesn’t confine us. belittle us. congest our lives with cleaning and rearing. we can love and be free.

but perhaps only if we critically imagine love as a constructed mystery.

and not a for-real sherlock holmesian one.